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I manage a team of 10 UX Designers across 10 Sprint Teams (A designer to assigned to each team) I'm looking for ideas into how designers can document design decisions. Take this scenario:

As designers, we of course go through many iterations with executive level teams having input into signing off features. We often find ourselves revisiting features or conversations that came up a month ago or have other designers taking over projects and not knowing what was discussed in past, what direction did they scrap, what they liked etc.

Does anyone have experience or tools where you have successfully documented your design decisions. If you've had a meeting and a direction was scrapped there was some way in which it can be referred to in the future should you need to argue a point already discussed.

Thanks.

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    Hello UXG! What you are asking for is called "rationale" and is considered a necessary artefact of requirements documentation in academic texts, but I have never seen consequent rationale documentation applied in practice. Anyway, it's a large area - my supervisor habilitated in it - and as such not suited as a question on this site. You'll have to do more research if you're interested in it, there are whole books on the topic. – Rumi P. Jan 19 '15 at 14:11
  • Piggy-backing off BDD's answer before lots of ticketing systems (such as Redmine) allow keeping and tracking such information. (Not recommending Redmine here). – Mayo Jan 19 '15 at 15:55
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    Although I agree that the question is broad, I think it's a valid UX question. I'm struggling to find a way to narrow it down to something more specific though. – JohnGB Jan 19 '15 at 16:00
  • I'm a coder, and in code it's easy. You have the inline documentation about a single item or concept, the revision history to track actual changes in code, and I always include a table of contents to the process and where to find each step taken. Decision making in other areas is not so easily documented. What an interesting problem/question – Patrick Pease Jan 23 '15 at 20:21
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InVision does this beautifully as long as everyone sticks to it. In InVision you get to upload images of your design, create interactive prototypes and share them as web links with clients and colleagues. People can comment in line (that is, as with PDF's create comment bubbles projected on the design), and you as the owner can view the process in a timeline mode and backtrack the design's progress, with decisions being made due to comments in the app.

It does work great as long as people stick to it, but if decisions are being made over telephone and email then you have to manually add the comments in the app and refer to the person to keep it on track.

Have a look at their promotion video and see if it looks appealing.

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I know this might sound very basic, but I just keep track of everything through Google Drive.

I will sit down with a client and discuss what makes the most sense. During that process, I take a ton of notes and talk through the things with the client that they like and don't like.

For example, if a client tells me they don't want Feature A because of X, Y, and Z, I will write all that down and ask them to elaborate as much as they can. I will make a note and change the look of the text so I know to ignore it (Generally to a lighter gray so it somewhat blends in with the Google Drive background). That way, if they come back and say they want Feature A now, I can give them reasons X, Y, and Z as to why they didn't want it originally and start a conversation again with them about adding it in, if they really want it, why it was bad to begin with, etc.

If you want a way to actually track your changes in Illustrator/Photoshop/whatever program you use, I suggest taking a look at Timeline by Pixel Novel. It sets up a type of version control for your documents and lets you easily access previous versions of your designs. This could be used to bring up former designs to help enforce reasons X, Y, and Z.

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