How to present design decisions (Framework)

5 steps to prepare for any presentation whether explaining a paper prototype to a colleague or presenting a product to a client.

Designers explain design decisions every day. Sometimes a presentation can decline into a fruitless pattern of never-ending questions or irrelevant recommendations. This framework helps to:

  • keep listeners focused on crucial aspects
  • ensure everyone is on the same page
  • save time preparing for a presentation
  • compose structured presentation on the go


1. Define goals of a presentation

Explain the goals of a presentation and what kind of feedback you’re looking for. If you’re showing a prototype, let listeners know at the outset that you want them to concentrate on the user flow, not visual design.

  • What type of feedback you want to elicit
  • What questions you want answered

2. Set context

Even when all listeners are familiar with a project they may have different perspectives on it. To ensure everybody is on the same page walk listeners through a short scenario:

  • Introduce the user
  • Describe use case scenario
  • Explain the context of use

For example: Alex hasn’t been feeling well recently. A doctor prescribed him some medication. Alex has to take pills twice a day.

3. Focus on the problem

Explain the user problem we’re trying to solve. What are the user’s goals? You can cite your users or show a record from interviews with the user.

For example: Alex isn’t getting better. He keeps forgetting to take his pills.

4. Introduce solution

Illustrate the reasons behind decisions made instead of explaining features.Explain why this solution is better than alternatives:

  • share observations from research
  • provide data
  • recap feedback from previous meetings
  • clarify impact on business

For example: We’ve noticed Alex and other patients often forget to take their pills. We’ve also noticed Alex has his phone with him all the time. We can use his phone as a reminder tool and gradually he’ll become used to taking his pills on time.

5. Provide next steps

To lead a discussion and avoid irrelevant questions. Give listeners the future vision of the product and remind them of the current priorities.


Finish the presentation with a question to steer listener attention towards the problem and the goal of the presentation.


This framework is intended to build good habits for presenting design decisions. Try it out next time you explain design to a colleague.

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