Top 5 considerations for designing compliant pharmaceutical websites
Design documentation. These two words may not inspire much excitement for a designer being put up to the task. Many people dread writing up documentation — it’s not as ‘sexy’ as the design work, or as creative as the project itself. But, it’s an integral part of the design process. Not only for the designers themselves, but also for product stakeholders, project managers, developers, and anyone else involved now, or in the future.
Here, we’ll explain what design documentation involves and why you should always make time for it to keep your projects running smoothly and efficiently.
Documenting design means creating a collection of documents and resources that covers all aspects of the product design.
This should include information about your users, product features and services, along with project deadlines, resources used and the people involved in the project, with their job role and remit.
You should also include details of design decisions made that your team and stakeholders agreed or disagreed on, including information on why something wasn’t implemented and when it may be revisited.
Is it really so bad if there is no design documentation? What is the worst-case scenario if you don’t bother with it?
From firsthand experience, we know that big fractures will emerge in your project or product delivery. When overlooking design documentation, you can expect some, if not all of the following to affect you at some point:
Having up-to-date design documentation will act as your team’s single source of truth (alongside any design systems) for your project. If anyone needs answers, it’ll be the first place they look. It helps to give direction and ensure all stakeholders are always on the same page.
Implementing documentation forces team members to clarify the project requirements before design can get underway. It helps to organise thoughts, which can then be presented to stakeholders to help them in their approval process. This enables mutual understanding and alignment and removes ambiguity.
Having everything documented helps massively with team communication, onboarding and handovers. Anyone new to your team will need to understand current and legacy projects, including the decisions that have been made, why they were made, what resources have been used, and the direction the project will be going in. The quicker they can access this information and can get up to speed, the less time is wasted. Efficiency is key.
There are various tools that can be utilised to create efficient documentation. It doesn’t need to be complicated or involve cutting-edge design software. At Graphite, we often use Confluence as our main document store, as well as G Drive, or other preferred systems of our clients.
Creating design documentation should effectively be an extension of your project work, so it’s best to approach it in the same way. Here are some tips on how to create usable, accessible and effective documentation:
Although every project is different and will require the inclusion of specific elements, here are the most important and essential things to include in most cases:
By making the time to carefully and clearly document your design work, you’ll ensure your teams remain aligned and working efficiently in order to create impactful digital products and services for your users.
To find out more about our digital design expertise within healthcare and pharma, get in touch.