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Design Sign-off Explained

At The Pixel Parlour we love being all formal, signing bits of paper and generally tying the whole development process up in as much red tape as possible. . .

Nope, as a rule we try to keep that kind of stuff to a minimum and the scope of projects as flexible as possible. But we do believe that a form of design sign-off is a useful part of the website development process.

We usually seek sign-off at the point where it makes sense to start committing code to page, bringing to life the planning and design work that has been done to date.

By this point in a project we will already have captured project requirements & objectives and devised a website plan. Considered content, created style tiles and page wireframes. Produced and refined a series of visual design mockups for key pages and prototyped some key user interactions. We will have been methodically narrowing in from what started as a very broad set of possibilities to something that is defined enough to start building. But before embarking on development it’s important to know that we’re developing down the right path.

Design sign-off doesn’t set things in stone – we know that some of the details will change as the final site comes together – but it means moving ahead with certain basic design assumptions in place. The result is cleaner code, a quicker development process and a project that stays on-budget.

Sign-off can also be a useful project milestone for everyone involved to work towards and a great way to focus attention on the design aspect. Where senior stakeholders may need to be involved in the final approval of the project as a whole, but not in the fine detail of its creation, design sign-off can be one of the key points at which to get their input.

A request for sign-off will usually follow a detailed walk-through of the design with one of the team, recapping the rationale behind the decisions that have brought the project to that point and mapping out how it will develop from here to launch. It’s a great opportunity to make sure that everyone moves forward with the same understanding of a project.

Lisa Foster

Written by

Lisa Foster

As our Lead Designer Lisa works to create design solutions that are as accessible and intuitive as they are visually engaging.