Let me tell you a story. Several years ago, we had a client in a web agency I was working for. We had all sorts of projects there, but often they were small businesses, creating a website for the first time.
This client wanted an e-commerce website.
Just like in several previous projects, we started directly with development and skipped any kind of design phase. Which, in hindsight, is an absolutely insane method of work.
After one week of development, we sent the first demo. The client sent us some edits about the site’s header. He wasn’t sure about its colors, about the “look and feel”
We edited the header and sent it back to him to review. And again, he sent in more edits in response. The header UI wasn’t what he expected. He did his best to explain what he wanted, but we had no success.
Two weeks later, after four revisions ONLY on the header, the client started to lose his patience: “Guys, why are we losing so much time?”
We then continued this insanity of rounds of revisions, and in the end, we finally arrived at a conclusion.
It went great. The client sued the web agency.
This is Revision Hell. Probably this happened to you as well, either from a client perspective or as a designer.
When you’re in revision hell, it’s often too late. You don’t really “fix” revision hell. You avoid it at the beginning of the project.
First of all, the designer or developer you’re about to hire should have a transparent process. Something that they can outline in detail before you hire them.
Taking in requirements and jumping to design, or even worse development, isn’t a process: it’s a red flag.
A minimal decent design process looks like this:
◾️ Discovery phase: establishes some clear goals, clarifies expectations, and more. It can be in text format (a document), but sometimes it can include some sort of proof of concept.
◾️ Wireframe design: allows you to decide on a clear page structure without distractions from color or images.
◾️ Mockup design: a high-fidelity mockup will be designed with the information from discovery and the approved structure from the wireframe phase.
Every step should require your review and approval; in this way, you have full control over the design process.
Bonus points if your designer includes a mood board phase between discovery and wireframe design.
The main goal is to design something that your final users will truly appreciate. Your reaction when you see the design should be something along the lines: “That’s it! That’s exactly what I expected.”
So, no surprises and no wow moments, really.
Since I FINALLY started to adopt this process, in the past four years, I rarely went over one design revision. Never over two.