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The Case for Quality Control: Down to the Last Pixel

Posted by Jennifer Jackson

If you work in design or website development of any kind, you know what it means to "QC" your work. Quality control is such an important part of product development that any professional in the industry will include it as a vital step in their process. I personally adhere to multiple QC steps throughout the process of our products at Scorpion, and I have seen the QC process make our products even better with each round of review.

Why It's Important to Have Multiple QC Rounds

QC'ing a product proposal is more than simply proofreading an idea. It requires wearing multiple hats at different stages of development so you get the most well-rounded product possible. It is about reviewing the product throughout the sketch, design, programming, and functionality stages. Seeing an idea come to life and grow with each round of feedback is one of the many benefits of implementing multiple quality reviews.

Speaking of feedback, adequate quality review also requires the involvement of and input from multiple people on a team. However, it is possible to have feedback coming from too many channels. You know that idiom that says "too many cooks in the kitchen spoil the broth"? Well, it's true in many circumstances. That being said, with a small group of people providing feedback, your product won't be spoiled; on the contrary, it will likely be improved and more versatile.

Comparing & Contrasting Your Work As You Go

Whatever your QC process looks like, make sure that you constantly compare and contrast the product throughout the varying stages of development so you aren't straying too far from your original idea or what you and your team decided would be the new direction. This point is especially important to consider during the final stages of any product development. With that in mind, there are some key areas that should be an exact match when comparing your final product to mid-stage items (such as approved designed prototypes).

Key Players in the QC Process

Unfortunately, the following areas tend to be skimped during a lot of QC processes. However, they are key players in achieving next level user experience:

  • Spacing - This applies to many areas of a design, but a lack of balance or purpose in spacing between text and different sections within a design could ruin a user's experience.

  • Font - Text size is a hot topic these days because so many people are viewing marketing material on mobile devices. Make sure the fonts from your designed prototype translate well in programming when it comes to size, color, and font matching.

  • Placement - A site can easily become top heavy, side heavy, cluttered, or even scarce if the placement of items is not executed well. Especially with the use of responsive design in today's market, placement of sections within a site can really make or break the experience.

  • Animation – Movement gets the attention of people looking at your product. For example, if your product experience was designed around telling a story by intentionally transitioning in icons or words within a paragraph, a simple or default transition added during the program stage isn't going to cut it.

I could have listed many more items on this list, but these are the items I see as "repeat offenders" in comparing the start and finish of any given product. I'm known as the picky one in most crowds, but when it comes to product development, I don't mind being known for that personality trait. If you play your cards right you'll be known as one of the picky product developers on your team—the one who strives to find the perfect balance between pleasing aesthetics and quality user experience down to the very last pixel.