As a product person at an early-stage startup, I often think of the big picture. I look at how the past, present and future version of our product interact with each other, I think of its evolution, I make room not only for what’s coming up next but also for what’s going to happen in the future. But while focusing on the big picture is useful, sometimes it’s the small details that can make or break a product and its development process.

I recently read The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande, which is a book all about checklists, to understand how checklists are done. I also looked into UX Design checklists, and while I found some great resources such as The UX Project Checklist, I thought those were more like lists of the many things a UX Designer may (or may not) do for every project rather than a checklist of things I must be doing. A checklist must work for the people who will be using it (and that may be an individual, a team or an entire industry), but a generic list of activities a specialist could do does not qualify as a checklist to me. And I disagree with the statement that all UX designers should be doing each and every single thing on that list.

I’m a solo designer at a B2B early-stage startup. I can’t do workshops with other designers, I can’t do face-to-face testing with dozens of users because I don’t have access to the majority of our client-base and I’m designing an entire B2B platform from scratch, so I ain’t got no data to look at. Part of being good at one’s job means identifying what needs to be done in order to do one’s job well with the allocated time and resources (both human and financial) one has. And that might involve cutting corners, taking shortcuts and making assumptions - knowing fully well that one’s assumptions may very well be wrong. It’s far from ideal, and it’s taken me a while to accept that, but our process is not perfect. It’s never going to be.

Here’s how I’ve created my checklist. I have been thinking of all the stuff I often miss, and listing all the things I remember too late, once design is in development or even once it’s been implemented. And I have been looking at what things other designers are doing that I’m not (and I am able to do in my current circumstances). Below is a checklist that I will try to keep short but current.

  • Have you looked at how other products solve this particular problem?
  • Are any screens missing? Have you done (and reviewed) your user flows, wireflows and screen-flows?
  • What’s the transition between screens like?
  • Are there any new components in this design? If so, are they necessary? Could we use something already present in the Design Library?
  • How is this going to work on different devices?
  • Are you using the colour palette consistently?
  • Is copy ready?
  • What happens when things go wrong? What are the error messages going to be?

Of course this list is not exhaustive, and I will continue adding to it in the next few months.