I worked with a global design agency recently on an eCommerce redesign. As well as the actual production work in Figma, they were spending 16 hours a week creating a separate Google Slide deck for a 1 hour meeting to present their progress and gain alignment from the client. After the meeting, the deck was delivered as a pdf.
There's a problem with this and this is happening within the biggest agencies in the world. In some cases, creative directors and designers are often working until midnight or over the weekend to get these throwaway decks done.
I was shocked to see this practice still in existence. The crazy thing is, it doesn't have to be this way. There is an alternative.
Prototype over PowerPoint
Since taking Sketch designs and uploading them to InVision, designers had a way to communicate in a more realistic way what the product they were designing would look like. Now, using Figma, teams are sharing the interaction of key menus, the motion between states and all packaged up in a URL to share.
Why aren't teams prototyping more? Well first, you need to look at the makeup of a team. In some cases, there's a UX designer, a Visual Designer, a Creative Director for UX and another for VD. Progress is measured in quantity and quality of design output and in most cases, they are all working separately.
The value of a prototype is that, unlike a deck, they can be built upon. Prototypes of old were thrown away, but today they are iterated upon with more agility. Starting with a UI template such as Untitled UI in Figma saves days of work, allowing the creativity to go into the aesthetic layer.
Treating the implementation of data-defined business value goals as iterative prototypes will help turn concepts into reality very quickly. If something isn’t working then fail fast and move on to the next area. If you need to rapidly test and develop an uncertain piece of metadata software and business process, then do it on a small scale before committing to the full project. ref
A key reason the slide decks are being created with the prototypes, are to show the roadmap, key decisions that have been made and concepts that have yet to be worked on, all packaged up in a way that looks and feels high quality.
It's just a lot of manual work to get it to that stage right now.
I think client reviews are in need of a big revamp. I would say they're still important, if anything to preserve some time in the diary to review work that's been done asynchronously, but presentations need to make way for prototypes, that can then be objectively validated rather than subjectively reviewed.
No Code gives us speed and accuracy
Reviewing the thing rather than a picture of the thing unlocks more possibility and productivity, and in time, we'll have the tools to better improve the behaviour of activities such as client reviews. I'm excited by that possibility because it introduces accuracy and transparency, especially in the agency industry were it can be deeply lacking.
I think what's really lacking here, in the agency space, is that client project area that was served by the likes of Basecamp, Asana etc. There's a massive gap in that area right now. Notion is close, but clients find it tricky to access and add comments to it, falling back to email.
I'm keen to learn more. Last night, I purchased tickets to Webflow's Conference in November in San Francisco and hope to talk to others who are moving design into a more data-informed discipline.