I’m always growing and learning, but this is what my process is today. There are so many ways of describing the design process: UX Design Theory, IDEO.org’s Design Thinking, the Double Diamond Design Approach, etc.
But the way each creative on this planet embraces a process is slightly different. Each designer brings a different soft skill and hard skill toolkit to the process. Aside from the actual toolkit I use, I can embrace chaos when necessary.
While design thinking and design processes can cut through the chaos and overwhelm of a problem, chaos is part of the human creative experience. Out of divergent chaos, we can stretch enough if we embrace it, to converge on creative and effective solutions.
Clients have a problem that is frustrating them on some level. I seek to compassionately understand it using all the tools at my disposal. That might include a detailed observation of their issue, or a long look at sites that they like, or a card sorting game. I use my empathy skills to read the person before me to find a way to see what they see and feel what they feel.
There may be many data artifacts associated with a project or an out-dated, tangled website. I take a deep breath and put on my headphones and my best concentration Spotify playlist and dive in. I live into what is offered to me and take the time needed to wrap my head around it. (embrace the chaos)
Even if the client clearly stated their problem from meeting no.1 , at this stage of the process, I feel I really get their problem. There is always a nuance that I failed to grasp in the first explanation because I have not lived with the problem as the client has been living with the problem.
“How Might We” exercises help me a lot here. I like to see this part as constrained chaos, though this is still very much divergent thinking. I tend to revisit the understanding of the problem in this step.
It’s time to see if the user base is on board with the ideas that are coming for a design. Sometimes interesting data appears that can further morph a design. (embrace the chaos)
I often review scope at this point with clients. It’s important for me to manage expectations and nail down what the client wants to receive out of this project. Doing a prioritization exercise here is very helpful.
I often have to stop myself from sketching too soon. But once I have down all the foundational work above, I let loose on wireframe sketches and user flows. This is the time to have a lot of rapid back and forth with the client. Things always come up! This step has even had me go back to the table with the client to review scope again. I also like to talk to the developers here if I haven’t already. Developers know what is ultimately possible and help guide my design. Best to chat early and often with them. (embrace the chaos)
A functional prototype manipulated by users both in solo and monitored settings is invaluable to me. I so enjoy seeing all the things I never thought a user would do on a certain page!! (embrace the chaos) I then tweak the prototype and test again. Sometimes I research other UI solutions again and return to the Prototype board for whole pages if needed. I strive for low cognitive load and intuitive flow through an app or site, adding playfulness when appropriate.
Is my prototype clean and organized? Have I used the design system appropriately? Is the prototype shared out to the appropriate people? I like to clearly decide with the developer(s) how they will be reaching out to me with any design questions. Will there be issues posted in GitHub? Is there a channel on Slack?