Every project is a unique journey requiring a unique, tailored approach. In my collaboration with teams, I customize my process to meet the needs and scope of every project to achieve maximum effectiveness and the best result. However, my design practice from start to finish along the following basic phases:
I start every journey by answering “where are we?” Begin by understanding the problem you’re trying to solve, and why. A process of discovery and thorough research will reveal the business goals, competitor landscape, product ecosystem, target users. From these insights, I understand how to situate your product and its features in a place to succeed now as well as imagine how it will continue to succeed in the future.
Once we know where we’re going, we need to figure out the best way to get there. By developing product and content strategies, I begin to frame out the shape of the project. I build personas of target users and identify their core needs and user journeys to map out how to effectively meet their needs in ways where competitors have failed. I identify the metrics and standards by which to validate success at each step of the process.
This is where we really start to brain-storm—take what we learned from the previous stages in our process and begin mapping out potential solutions and opportunities. Whether I am sketching out experience flow diagrams on a white board or arranging feature set priorities on post-it notes, I like to start at a low-fidelity to let the best ideas emerge freely before building up in complexity and fidelity.
As the ideas evolve, it’s essential to refer back to the original problem that we’re trying to solve. Beginning with rough journey maps and wireframes, we gradually refine the fidelity of our design solutions. Since testing and validation is a huge part of my process, I like to make prototypes at different levels of fidelity and interactivity to make sure we’re on the right track. When possible, I like to involve the engineering team to make sure the designs we’re creating are technically feasible.
Now that we have a well-packaged, cohesive design, it’s crucial to validate our assumptions and design decisions through testing. There are a variety of approaches to validating a design either qualitatively or quantitatively, and often I use a mixture of both to measure usability, emotional response, and design effectiveness. It’s great to build an interactive prototype as the designs evolve, but you can still gain a lot of insight from “low-tech” testing, especially early in the design process. Problem-solving is all about working around and over obstacles to create unique, compelling solutions!
Nothing is more exciting than seeinga project come to life. Of course, this is where the *real* test begins, and the best products are never completely “finished”. Keeping an eye on success metrics such as traffic, click-throughs, and usability metrics help us understand how effective our design solutions are in the real world and iterate from there.