Every business relies heavily on documentation for its success. In the absence of documented work, it is unlikely that a business is going to be able to do its job properly. Moreover, good documentation makes it possible for businesses to monitor their progress and comply with any legal requirements. In addition to ensuring a smooth and efficient operation, good documentation helps protect the business from legal repercussions. What good documentation is, why it is important, and why we do it for our clients is the topic of this article.
Documentation and its importance in UI and UX world
Generally, internal documentation is the information an organization maintains and uses to inform its decisions. Almost anything can be documented, from schedules to essential policies, which means there are many different types of documentation. However, most of them are classified as a team, reference, or project document.
Now let's dig into documentation in UX and UI:
The UX design documentation captures all the critical steps in the process. In this way, anyone within the team or the broader organization can easily understand the scope of a project, how design decisions were made, and the outcome. Having completed user research and product strategy, now is the time to start documenting the UX concepts. In order to begin, products have to be divided into 10-30 significant areas or workflows (such as "dashboard" or "onboarding"), depending on the scope of the project. Afterward, an outline of each idea with a brief explanation of why and how it should be developed, including design considerations, is written.
There are several types of UX documentation, including:
- A brief overview of the project and the design challenge, as well as an overview of critical stakeholders and their responsibilities, as well as a timeline for completion of the project
- The main findings and methods of user research
- User personas
- Workshop and ideation notes and summaries
- Sketches and concepts from the beginning of the design process
- Architectural Information
- The various forms of wireframes and prototypes
- An analysis of user and usability outcomes
- A style guide and a design system
The UI of the product should be designed and documented once the team has endorsed some or all of the pitches. Even at the beginning, these two things will make it easier to present and defend design decisions. A well-documented user interface also contributes to keeping the design file organized.
A true time and energy saver
In situations where a team is handing off tasks, planning a new project, or needing another team member to take over, documentation allows the team to keep the wheels turning without spending hours trying to find information, credentials, directions, etc. Clients want their teams to be able to approach work in the way that suits them best because there are several ways to accomplish tasks. By providing documentation, the team is able to share knowledge, which empowers them to understand how processes work and what a finished project looks like. By having documentation in place, the client has access to previous work and can learn from it rather than repeat the same process over and over. Lastly, documentation helps everyone at work learn more about each other. The team sharing information will increase transparency and create a more collaborative, strategic culture. They'll make more thoughtful decisions because important information won't be stored on just one computer or, worse, in one person's head!
Documenting UX-UI in a clear, accessible manner allows to:
- Be aware of the past in order to be able to predict the future.
- Participate in the design process with others.
- Hand over work easily to new designers.
- Create a collaborative environment.
Best documentation tools and tricks
These are some of the best UX documentation tools:
- Notion: Software for managing company documents and storing valuable information centrally.
- Google Drive: An online storage, sharing, and collaboration platform where files can be accessed from any mobile device, tablet, or computer.
- Airtable: a hybrid spreadsheet-database service with the features of a database.
- Dovetail: a platform to document and share UX research for user research analysis.
- Miro: A collaborative tool for brainstorming, collecting early design ideas, and centralizing communication.
Wireframing: The use of low-fidelity wireframes as visual aids in pitches helps to improve understanding of the concepts. Only what is necessary to communicate the concept should be shown in each wireframe. A lot of detail at this stage may limit the exploration of design possibilities.
Pitch writing: A pitch describes each central area or workflow within a product with some visual aids. As a living library of all documentation required to design and build a website or product, pitches are first used to introduce concepts to the entire team and get buy-in. Designers and developers will weigh in and take advantage of each pitch as it evolves.
File structure: The ability to understand designs is greatly enhanced by creating and maintaining a well-organized file. Unfamiliar users should be able to navigate a particular design and understand its purpose and behavior. For different design and documentation purposes, create pages with exact names.
Prototype: A prototype page visually represents an entire workflow for designers and developers. The importance of this type of documentation can't be overstated since it keeps teams on the same page and will often lead to UI questions.
Style guide: Each style should have a dedicated page that can be laid out and further described as necessary. It is necessary to describe a group of styles rather than individual styles because some styles cannot be captured in the style panel.
To wrap things up
Business runs more smoothly and efficiently when there's good documentation. Businesses need documentation to stay on top of their progress and comply with the law. In addition to training new employees, good documentation helps resolve any issues that may come up.
Providing this service to our clients is important because it can help small businesses stay organized and efficient, as well as large businesses comply with their legal obligations. Furthermore, good documentation practices help businesses avoid legal trouble and resolve disputes if they arise.