Solve deadlines as a designer
Stop setting ridiculous deadlines for your projects. A few tips if you’ve already set a deadline.
It may sound like a rant, but I’m sure this applies to you too. If you are a designer who often misses deadlines, this article is for you. If this has not happened to you before, read this article to avoid similar problems in the future.
There are two things that designers fear the most. Developers and deadlines. Although you can still somehow cope with the first (read – there is nothing you can do about it), with the second point everything is complicated. I am almost sure that there are people who, like me, want to change their profession just because they constantly do not have time to meet the deadline.
There can be many reasons why you didn’t finish the design on time, but if this happens to you all the time, then something is wrong in your workflow. While this requires some serious refinement in the basics of your workflow, I hope the tips mentioned below will help you.
Okay, you have a new project ahead of you. You are sure to complete it, but at the same time you are a little scared. What if you miss the deadline? Can you complete the project as soon as possible? Yes, there are a number of things you can do to achieve this. We can divide them into two parts:
- Pre-commitment (things to look out for before starting work on a product)
- Follow-up commitment (things to do when you get stuck and think you’ll miss your deadline)
Fast design does not mean a good product
“You either create a product or you drown” – this is the modern era of startups. Always value your time. Time gives rise to questions, and questions give rise to solutions, and solutions shape your product. Creating a quality product definitely takes time. Your design must evolve at different stages before it is released. Always think that your project will take some time to organize, do not rush with the intention of completing it as soon as possible. Explore the product and then start working.
Understand the design process
Understanding your design process from start to finish is absolutely essential. If you don’t know or don’t see how designers work with a product, go back to basics. Certain stages were formed that any design must go through in order to become a complete project (idea, research, real design, testing, repetition). Simply put, familiarize yourself with the process and make sure you customize it for yourself. Set goals early. Determining what you are going to do early on will help you save a lot of time down the road.
Be honest with yourself
Once you finish fixing the process or get a rough idea of it, you can now calculate the approximate time each project will take. I’ve seen designers put in a short deadline just to show they are better than others. Do not do this. Time does not define you. Set a deadline only when you are confident that you will meet the deadline. I would advise, just in case, to add another 4-5 hours. Responsibility for the work lies with the client, and determining the deadline is yours.
Learn to say no
If your product manager / client forces you to complete the work in a ridiculously short period of time – directly refuse to participate in the project. Designing is not easy. Making the best product depends on your mental health. Strenuous work will damage both the product and yourself. Learn to say no. Good clients will always know that good design takes time and won’t force you to speed up. If forced, do not hesitate to leave the project.
Get early feedback
The process doesn’t work if you don’t follow it. Any ship at sea will need a course correction to reach its destination. Getting early feedback on your design will help you adjust course and drift in the right direction. It also removes confusion and brings more clarity to the product you are designing. Make sure you always sync with the developers regularly and know if the design you are working on is feasible – whether there are development constraints, platform issues, etc. If your developer thinks this won’t work or it will take longer, listen to it.
Yes. They’ve already done it. And it works. Copy their solution. Improvise based on it. Always analyze, research and research all available competitors before coming up with your own solution. Perhaps you are thinking in the wrong direction, and your competitor has a designer who has already gone through all these processes and found the best solution.
There are many resources available on the Internet for free and commercial use. If you find something suitable for your product, purchase and use it. Try using free icons / illustrations in your product. The hamburger menu icon will look just as good if you make it yourself or just reuse it from a free resource.
Use native and default components
Don’t reinvent the wheel. The user just needs a dropdown menu. If it is available as a default component, use it. Don’t waste time designing a custom dropdown menu. There are people whose job it is to come up with default components for web, mobile and other platforms. Use them because they are a proven option.
Show unfinished work
Feel free to submit unfinished work. It is only when you do that that your client / product manager will see how close you are to completion and that the extra time will help you improve the project. Accept that you did not complete the work within the deadline you set, and sincerely ask for the extra time you need.
Always remember that this is only useful if you have understood your design process correctly. Also keep in mind that coming up with a good design will always take longer than you think.