My Design Process

Maxim

Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore

“I hope that the memory of our friendship will be everlasting.”
– Cicero

Designing great digital experiences is a process of widening the spectrum of vision; from exploring seemingly infinite possibilities that are on the fringe of technical viability to narrowing in on visual details at the pixel-level.

Foundation

I have dedicated much of my life to martial arts study. At its core, martial arts is a discipline of balance – a cyclical interplay of perception meeting reality. The physical manifestation of balance is what martial artists call “Stance”. A solid Stance is built over thousands of hours of practice and is the root of a practitioners power. Product design is very similar insofar as understanding the goals and problems users encounter build a solid foundation for truly impactful solutions to be built and delivered.

Patterns & Framework

Another parallel in product design and martial arts is the use of patterns and frameworks. Martial arts use katas to transfer knowledge and commit tools to muscle memory for rapid recall. Design patterns are much the same. Utilizing tried-and-true patterns is one way to make digital experiences more approachable for users.

I consider human-centered design framework to be effective in placing a spotlight on the user throughout the entire design/development process. Through observation and conversation, insights are gained, assumptions tested and a deeper connection to the user achieved. Great solutions come from understanding the obstacles and pains people face in achieving their goals. Put simply, great products are built by teams that directly empathize with their customers.

I - Research phase

Customer interviews and observation

  • Discover current workflows and mental models
  • Understand desires/pain-points
  • Understand current workflows and mental models

 

Competitor analysis

  • Is this problem(s) already being solved?
  • Help inform the business of which features are “table-stakes”
  • Is there a disruption angle?

 

Survey creation/analysis

  • What do we need to know to help our customers be successful?
  • Validate assumptions

 

Brainstorm facilitation

  • Engage team and stakeholders
  • Build teams knowledge of problem space

 

Personas

  • Gather and synthesize information into brief stories to help the team empathize and reduce opinion battles

 

II - Design Exploration

Sketching

  • Rapidly sketch as many concepts as possible
  • Cull the bad and add fidelity to promising ideas

 

Wireframes/Workflows

  • Continue exploration building on strong ideas
  • Basic layout and interaction concepts

 

Low-Fi Interactive Prototyping

  • Building on sketches: Does it feel right?
  • How intuitive is it?

 

III - Validating & Iterating

After I've built an interactive prototype with enough fidelity to communicate affordances and next actions...

  • Hallway testing
  • User Observation
  • Design Critique with Team
  • Demo to stakeholders

 

IV - Development

  • Communicate workflows, interactions, layout and animation detail
  • Slice assets in appropriate format
  • Support with decision making along the way

V - Shipping the Product/feature

  •  Analyze usage data
  • User feedback and reviews
    • What are the trends?
      • Are users successfully interacting with the UI?
      • Are there lightweight solutions in the form of tutorials, screenshots, onboarding?
    • Feature requests
      • Is current UI communicating features well?
      • Are requests reflecting discoverability issues?
    • WOM: Are users satisfied enough to share the product?
  • Customer interviews
    • * Cycle repeats to beginning: I - Research Phase
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