User-Centered Design Is Everyone’s Responsibility: A Launch Checklist

Written by: Ben Rogers

I cannot count how many large-scale projects my team has been a part of where we’re scrambling last-minute to take care of some seemingly small but integral task necessary for launch. I’ve talked to others in the web design and marketing industry; my team is not alone in this launch frenzy. But does that make this odd ritual okay or even acceptable?

The risk when things are missed prior to launch

The worst case scenario? Once live, a project stakeholder notices the missteps and calls out the project team, damaging trust, credibility, and ultimately the relationship.

Scratch that.

The worst case scenario for missed items prior to a project launch are when the end user stumbles upon them. This can result in a lost purchase, a drop in satisfaction, and a big impact on the bottom line and perception of the product and/or company. And only 21% of internet users give a brand another chance after a negative experience (Harris Poll, 2017). We cannot afford to get it wrong the first time.

Only 21% of Internet users give a brand another chance after a negative experience (Harris Poll, 2017)

If launch tasks are integral, then why are they commonly overlooked?

What we need is accountability, but accountability cannot exist when there is not a great grasp of what is needed. Many launch tasks are missed not because of their importance but for a myriad of reasons that, when combined, make them hard to spot.

  • Minimal, small in duration
  • The task was not accounted for in the project plan, project estimate, or project scope
  • Lack of ownership
  • Crunched for time

Save the day with a project launch checklist

A project launch checklist is a document that brings greater visibility to small but important tasks that are often overlooked by project teams. Many of these items are crucial to the project launch strategy but are never formally documented.

This checklist can help mitigate the aches and pains of prior-launch anxiety by assigning ownership and distributing responsibility to the team instead of leaving the burden on the shoulders of one or few.

Screen shot of the web site launch list

The checklist

  • Identifies all relevant tasks
  • Assigns ownership
  • Sets due dates

But the work isn’t over

In the user-centered design process, it is EVERYONE’s responsibility to ensure a successful launch, not just the project manager or user experience resource. Don’t wait until the last minute to tackle these integral tasks for launching a project.

It’s also important to note that, once the site is launched, our work is not done: There are maintenance tasks and necessary items that need to be checked post-launch as well. Account for pre- and post-launch tasks in all projects for a smooth transition, happy team members, and satisfied clients.

Great resources exist but none that I have found are easily reusable lists. I’ve taken some of these lists—along with my experience—and put together a list that you can copy and make your own. Go ahead, no strings attached! Happy to share it with you.

Helpful resources

I drew inspiration for this checklist from many launch resource articles, some of the most influential are listed below.

 

Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers is a user experience strategist, information architect, whose background is in business analysis and classroom education. He evangelizes research and testing to inform user-centered design on projects that impact the journey of the customer. Data models, taxonomies, and usability testing make him weak in the knees. To discuss these topics, trends, or process find him @rogersblee on Twitter or visit his LinkedIn account.
View all posts by

5 thoughts on “User-Centered Design Is Everyone’s Responsibility: A Launch Checklist”

  1. Hey Ben,

    Great article – but the links in the Helpful resources from Smashing Magazine and Hubspot are broken. Can you please provide working ones?

    Thanks!

  2. Nice list, thanks for providing! Suggest adding at least a few accessibility-specific items such as ensuring keyboard functionality and sufficient color contrast. (Some of the SEO items cross over with accessibility.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *