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We are currently working on a website with many innovative design ideas. The client is very happy with the site; the design and implementation was conducted under very tight budget restraints.

The project is close to an end, but budgeting for the last 5% of the design (for example, 404 message, error messaging, usability tests) is a losing battle with the client.

This is prompting me to review my design process from engagement to design to delivering the website. Should I have held back on the innovations to ensure we can get the last 5% covered and have the site tested on a wider scale before going live? Or should I live with the fact that the UX isn't perfect because we ran out of budget?

What are your experiences, and how have you changed your design process to tackle this?

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Did you budget in testing? –  Pieter B Aug 7 '12 at 7:24
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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

As a UX program manager, I would have to go along the path of saying that your primary focus is to come up with a comprehensive system which is well tested and a clearly defined user path to enable to the user to achieve his goals. Innovation is important but its important to clearly define the goals of the application and ensure the user can achieve them while using the application

With regards to changes in the design process, I would just recommend preparing an initial draft of the list of requirements and prioritizing them into three buckets

  • Must have features (these are the ones which drive the application and without them the application lacks purpose)
  • Nice to have features (these are the ones which would supplement your application but leaving them out would not break it)
  • Version 2.0 Features (These would be your innovations as you call them and can be built on top of the application once it has been built and is robust)

Your design process would obviously have to remain the same but you would have to convince the client of the importance of building a system with a well defined user experience before you go along the path of innovation

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I think Innovation leads perfect UX, perfect UX is subjective to the target audience and client. Innovation, an idea can change the world.

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And your point would be...? –  Benny Skogberg Sep 13 '12 at 18:08
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Don't give up perfectionism, it's not worth it.

My experience is that most people in web development are (excuse me) mediocre. They give up the 5 percent they think, but in fact, they give up 40 percent, and they'll stay forever within the bell-curve of average +-10%.

If you want to reach the moon, you have to shoot for the stars.

If you want 95%, you have to aim for 100%. If you aim for 95%, you'll get 70%.

If you want to move with the crowd (and no, the crowd isn't at the 90% mark, the crowd is at the 50% mark), do so, but I recommend to move as late as possible, so that you bring some plus to the humanity. Mediocricity is good for paying bills, but I don't think it helps things to move forward.

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You don't have to excuse yourself for saying the majority in the field are crap - it's common knowledge! –  Jimmy Breck-McKye Jul 26 '12 at 20:40
    
Perfect UX is very very costly, and often doesn't lead to additional sales (or investment $ depending on your stage). I've struggled with a similar issue where we're 90% there on the user experience, but that last 10% will be extremely costly. We struggle daily with the disconnect between our vision and the end result. Our users don't know the difference because most every piece of software they've used is horrible. –  drawtheweb Aug 8 '12 at 18:53
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