Design is primarily an iterative process for transforming abstract ideas into something tangible. Having a robust design process allows me to reliably replicate success for any type or size project. My design process is highly iterative, methodical and typically incorporates smaller iterative design cycles at every major milestone. These mini iterations are opportunities to explore and test multiple potential solutions through various prototyping and testing methods and ultimately validate innovative user-centered solutions as the project progresses.
Collaborate with a cross-functional set of business stakeholders to understand business goals and requirements while using various research methods to learn about users and their user wants, needs, perspectives and how they go about accomplishing their goals today. I use both direct and indirect research methods that include 1 on 1 interviews, focus groups, phone interviews, contextual inquiry, surveys, card sorting exercises and design thinking in addition to analyzing and developing insights based on customer satisfaction (CSAT) and site analytics reports.
This is where the problem and project requirements are more clearly defined. This can be as brief or robust of a process as necessary and usually takes shape in the form of a Business Model Canvas or Requirements Document and includes defining our business goals, value propositions, core features and functions, high-level UX designs and required technology platforms. This also allows us to effectively scope the project by estimating costs, timing and resources required.
This is the first step for turning abstract concepts into actual tangible designs. During this phase user personas and user journey maps are created to help depict our target user groups and contextualize the current problem. Be bold when pursuing various ways to improve the experience and explore various aspects of design including the experience design, information architecture, content taxonomies, interaction models and visual designs.
Build interactive prototypes for user testing with varies levels of fidelity to garner very specific learnings along the way. These prototypes should be built with just enough detail to simulate the end experience and be used to validate design choices with actual users. When moving into actual development, I walk development through functioning prototypes as part of my dev-handoff process and provide meticulously annotated wireframes, use cases and visual designs to ensure development goes as smoothly as possible.
Listen to users to understand how they use or navigate experiences and if they are able to accomplish their goals efficiently, effectively and with confidence. During testing, probe deeper and ask questions to understand why users make certain decisions and if they expect to find or do something that doesn’t exist within the experience being tested.
Because customers’ wants, needs and expectations are always changing while technology continues to evolve every day, we as innovative product owners must continually discover, define, explore, build and test new solutions if we want to provide delightful and useful experiences to our customers.