Skip navigation

Three pitfalls of bringing UX designers in too late


LAST UPDATED: 07 March, 2024

UX designers are being involved far too late in the sales process. I’ve even heard clients told “you’ll have a chance to talk with a UX designer at the first kickoff meeting” – as if that will make the client feel better. A lot can be lost if they have design questions that won’t even get addressed until after the team is assembled.

The problem is there’s a level of context that’s lost. It’s essential to have a UX specialist with the experience and depth of knowledge involved as soon as you’re discussing requirements in the initial scope of work, even if they are not going to be the full-time designer on the actual project.

I’ve seen numerous examples personally where a one-hour meeting attended by a UX designer had reduced the effort spent on estimating the design work on the proposal proposal and reduced the actual design time by nearly two weeks. This is because there was someone who could quickly invalidate a feature being tossed around in early discussions. Whereas without a designer to help reduce effort up front, the team will end up spending valuable time conducting researching, building wireframes, doing mockups, and making initial sketches for a feature that may not help enhance the overall user experience. Moreover, bringing UX in too late leads to numerous additional pitfalls:

1. Having a “UX tax”. Due to a lack of context, designers now pad their estimates. They don’t know what the design problem is that they’re getting into, so they feel they need to allow for extra time to catch up. The bottom line: There’s more effort expended and more costs incurred than are necessary by being brought in later in the conversation.

2. Adding irrelevant features. People often get attached to an idea and hold onto it through the initial sales process, which makes it into the proposal. You typically end up with features that people thought they needed to be successful, but have no data or use case to back it up. Had a UX designer been involved earlier, they could have pointed out if it wasn’t a good fit.

3. Having hostility between UX and pre-sales. UX often feels excluded because they weren’t involved in identifying the goals and critical requirements for the project and now the designers have to live with someone else’s choices. 

Can you believe that it’s even worse when individual sellers unwittingly misrepresent UX capabilities? These issues just scratch the surface. As it turns out there are myriad benefits to having UX designers involved early on in the sales process.

Learn more at our free webcast: Seven Common Contributors to Dysfunctional Alignment with User Experience Design