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Design Process

Understand.
Create.
Validate.

my Process

I like to keep a design process lean and efficient.

If you search Google Images for "design process", you would be met with countless diagrams, illustrated with varying shapes, while showcasing anywhere from 4, 5, 6, or even 12+ phases.

All of these design processes make sense and naturally hold the same goal – to make a great and successful product that solves problems – while also encouraging a linear approach that loops (or even jumping back and forth between phases), where based on learnings, designs are reiterated and validated further.

A design process is important to bring about an increased likelihood of success through understanding, the creation of solutions, and validation of those ideas – which is how I approach problem-solving through design.

Understand 
the Problem

What is the problem and why is it important?
All parts of the design process are important; however, the most pivotal part relates to research – where we start with understanding the problem.
Before creating a solution, I empathize with people (aka "users") and business units to better understand needs and goals to define where areas of opportunities may lie.

This is done through discovery and exploration of the problem space, gathering findings, gaining a deeper understanding of one's motivations, thought processes, and more, making it possible to properly define the problem(s) to be solved and the desired outcomes of any solution that would be brought forth in a later phase.

This naturally includes such methods as user and stakeholder interviews, competitive analysis, card sorting, tree testing, user/job stories, personas, and more.

Then Create 
a Solution

How can we solve the problem(s)?
This tends to be the most fun part of a design process for most; where then – based on learnings – pencil meets paper, dry-erase boards get scribbled on, conceptual models are created, interfaces are designed and developed, and people share ideas through various mediums on how to solve known problems and how to build a solution.
The conceptualization, design, and development phases find a home here, under the "Create" umbrella – of course, not all of these phases need to be completed or even kicked-off before taking advantage of the next, testing-oriented phase of the design process; however, that all depends on the state and fidelity of the solution.

This part is highly dynamic based on the requirements of the problem but includes such elements as information architecture, experience strategy, interaction models, front end development, and more, illustrated through such artifacts as varying fidelities of wireframes and UI designs, interactive prototypes, flows, sitemaps, and more.

And Then Validate
Design Decisions

Does the solution work? 
Does it solve the problem(s)?
Testing tends to be the most forgotten, de-scoped, or even devalued part of the design process. 😥 This is scary when considering the risk involved when launching a solution to the masses.
This part of the process is where we mitigate risk and improve the likelihood of success. Design decisions are put in front of real people to validate or disprove the original hypotheses of the solution.

Testing methods are determined based on various factors, such as fidelity of the designed solution (paper prototype, static wireframes, interactive prototype, fully-coded experience, etc.), nevertheless, it is usually sourced from a simple question, "What are we hoping to learn?"

If the goal is to see if people can complete a specific task (reach a goal), a moderated or unmoderated usability study can be done. If we are seeking to validate how a solution may impact performance-based metrics, this would warrant an A/B (split) or multivariate test. These approaches can be combined with additional methods such as scroll, attention, and/or click heatmaps, session recordings, and more, to gain further insight and evidence to proceed or pivot.

Repeat When Able

How can we continue to improve?
A design process merely outlines the approach, and with continued enhancements and reiterations of solutions (to support the ever-changing landscape of user needs, design patterns, and interaction models), this can yield continued success.

Next: People saying nice things.

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Hello.

I love discussing new ideas, solving problems and bringing concepts to life. Reach out and let's make something awesome together.
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