Getting design details right can create positive emotional states that actually make products easier to use.
Why you should move that button 3px to the left
This article by Branden Kowitz makes some very simple elegant points about why fit and finish matter. Technology is making it easier and easier to just make things work, but designers dedicated to their craft add credibility to the product. Branden makes a case for good UI/UX design helping projects like Mint, Square, and Simple becomes trusted additions to our online consumer life, and I agree. Imagine walking into a bank that has broken desks and clutter all over the counters. Even simpler, how would you feel if the front door was a little sticky and then rattled like it was loose.
Your SSL certificate needs to be paired with an equally solid design to reenforce the experience of trust. If your logo looks like Microsoft clip art, I am certainly not going to give you my financial info or any of my time.
Branden goes on to talk about how you can actually get this done in the workplace. I agree that you need to “polish as you go” and that good design isn’t something that gets plopped on top of the programming late in the game. The design goals should be clear from the beginning, and embedded into the work as it goes along. Front and back end need to have a symbiotic relationship, not be in their own unique silos.
I also try to build in triggers for feedback sessions while engineers are in context. I’ll say, “Grab me right before you check this in.” That way we can go over any small changes while all the files are open and checked out.
To get your design goals met you need to make them as easy as possible to execute. Sitting with the programmer as they work on the feature shows not only that you value their time but also lets you both communicate clearly about the goal. Managing a design project is part coach, but also a lot of water boy legwork to build credibility and trust.