There have been many times where I’ve searched tirelessly and did not find the proper design file naming. The dreaded designfilename.FINAL has loomed long on my hard drive with new desires of adding it to the collection of trash bin artifacts. As I’ve evolved into a business owner and design leader, my understanding of naming conventions and processes have blossomed into a standard. Although this streamlined approach has improved my life and product handoff, it is not void of its challenges.

Order Is Established

Every project you become a part of has a wealth of information that can be vital to your contribution and it’s success. From client notes and business documents to shared assets of other team members, the quantity as well as the complexity can vary. Since you want to reduce the chaos in your world, it’s better to keep things organized. A naming convention for you and your team establishes a familiar structure that keeps the weeds of design at bay. Your confidence in knowing where things live will be reflected in your work.

Making Room To Scale

Growth is a part of every area in the product design and development process and lends itself well to scaling. As teams grow, so does the ability to move quickly to deliver on a desired goal. To set the tone for a collaborative process opens the door to larger initiatives and flexibility among the teams you are aligned with. Personally if you are not growing in a way that’s aligned with your goals, burnout will continue to affect you and the productivity of your peers.

Keeping Things Central

Like a device hub, there is a centralized unit where all things connect to. Design files are no different and warrant the ability to improve the delivery of your team. Imagine a peer being out on a leave of absence and his/her files are on their local machines. A hotfix has started and requires some immediate ux guidance yet no one can access the source files. You and your team will now experience the urgent unguided delivery of a feature and will haphazardly try to recreate the elements to satisfy the user’s needs. This can take time out of your day to day execution and can be avoided. Don’t get caught in the inevitable hamster wheel called burnout. 

Maintain Standardization

Setting a guide in place to deliver on a product or service leads to providing quality results from any organization. It’s as though, no matter the project, team member and/or request, you can expect to get similar results every time. This is what happens with standardizing your workflow. It offers soo much value with delivery as your peers come to expect this type of effort and rely heavily on its implementation. It helps with onboarding and team training due to it being a set method no matter the tenure or role.

Visible Version Control

Working with teams, the permissions may vary depending on the team member. While working on a variety of products which include admin and users screens, the modifications to them can prove to be entirely unique. Making the adjustments can have the ability to confuse anyone if not handled appropriately. Maintaining the revision level gives insight into what changes have occurred, which source file is the most up to date as well as identifying current association to tickets, user stories and/or epics that are required. This is important for teams.  

The Cost Is Free

The cost to do any type of business can add up over time. From day-to-day operations, departmental roles and project failures tend to create additional cost. With developing a proper design file naming convention; the cost is free. It’s one less thing that one’s budget would have concerns over, leaving you more room to do more. It is a task that some would consider to be priceless.

What Are The Challenges?

Time Consuming

For things to run smoothly in a work environment or a household, there must be some up front effort. Starting a company from scratch requires an intense commitment to whatever goal you have set for yourself. Keeping things in order is no different. As you setup a legend or a key to maintain, naming and numbering may pose a bit of an initial challenge. This will be based on trial and error since every organization/design team has different needs. Commit to the upfront time as this will yield a great return on the team’s investment over time. 

Removes The Creativity

Void of pretty pixels, design thinking and creating visual compositions, the execution of this type of project can be a drag. As creatives, we often try to use our design skill in the application of the activities we take part in. With more administrative work, it removes much of the playfulness that comes with the role. This is more of a reason why much of this step towards proper file naming tends to be avoided.

Here is an example of a naming convention put into practice and used in a full project. Check out the following video for more of a deep dive into how things are structured and referenced. Some of the choices that are made for naming structure can prove to be practical and very useful among startups and large organizations.

 

 

Good design practices are always evolving to accommodate practitioner needs, industry shifts and technology demands.

Feel free to check out some useful links and gain some awareness about what others in the field of product design and ux may think.

 

Your life has color, so design it that way. AD

PS: Check out the full video for a visual reference of this method that will help you with your design file naming.

Anticio Duke

Anticio Duke

Anticio Duke is a serial entrepreneur, inventor and strategist based in Chicago, IL. Known as Duke, he transitioned from a successful product engineering background to digital product software design. Bringing a wealth of knowledge to the digital space, he serves as a product strategist for agencies and Fortune 100/500 companies; bridging the gap between consumer hardware and digital products. Currently, he leads as Chief Product Strategist at WDI Studios, an innovative creative agency focused on product delivery and education for mobile application design, gamification and voice user interfaces.

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