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How to develop designs for an enterprise customer

Dominik Schöler
January 11, 2023Software engineer at makandra GmbH

Usually, design development starts with drafts, sketches and prototypes. These are reviewed, refined and iterated until the final design is ready – shiny, accepted and ready for implementation. I believe this works well when you get to work with the final decider in person.

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However, this approach is not successful when the customer has complex internal structures ("Enterprise"). While the drafts and iterations might be all approved by the department you're working directly with ("Fachbereich"), deciders further up the hierarchy (the CEO, possibly) may cancel your designs when they see them – although all departments below had approved them. This is especially bad when it happens just before implementation of the finished design.

Once we had experienced just that, we understood that we needed a different strategy.

Suggested approach

  1. Have a short research and conception phase
  2. Come up with mood designs for the most important screens as quickly as possible
  3. Submit the moods for approval and try to get them to the top decider soon
  4. During approval, iterate as required
  5. Once official approval is given, re-build the designs from the bottom up

About mood designs

Moods …

  • are created with little effort
  • look like a final design at first glance
  • contain all planned elements/components
  • convey the intended look and feel: colors, fonts, layout, spacing
  • but neglect details like vertical rhythm, consistent spacing, final icons etc.
Posted by Dominik Schöler to makandra dev (2023-01-11 09:36)