I work in various design processes based on the speed and size of the company.

I  work closely with UER at all the companies and conducted my own studies on products to get direction clearer. Everything from paper prototype tests, lab studies to more advanced studies in the ethnographic field studies. Based on the size and length of the project I determine what level of effort is needed. All feedback is good feedback.
Research the problem...
Find out where this problem has been seen before on other web sites and how it was solved. Look at my specific requirements and see if any other solutions currently used will be able to work for me. What are my constraints, and my capabilities from a team standpoint. I use all this data to start making rough user flows.
 
Know my target audience...
Make sure that the team is all on board with the current user base and begin to build a persona around that user. Observe your user. This helps in the process of design to keep team members in check with the user. I have went as far as life size cutouts brought to meetings in order to keep team members focused on the user we are designing and building for.
Review my requirements and constraints...
The requirements will include schedule and resources, features and "wishlists". Requirements are always changing, I most recently keep integrating this step into my design process at different points. Startups continually are changing.

Begin sketching frameworks and light wireframes...
This may involve a quick block flows and diagrams that give me an idea of how the pieces effect other parts of a product. Initial tests may include surveys and quick reactions to paper mocks.
User flows and prototypes are part of this step
Conduct testing
Of course this is the bread and butter of design. Wether it be paper prototypes or a more functional prototype, the information gathered from these tests are highly valuable for solving internal disagreements and to give me a better direction how I need to refine my design. This can come in the form of lab testing, A/B tests or out in the field with what we call gorilla testing.

I have conducted testing inside labs and also out in field studies.

Refine wireframes and clean up the design...
This process usually is considered "detailing". It is when we have all agreed on the architecture and which pages are needed in a product flow. Usually at this point all business objectives are accounted for and we are just refining with a front end developer to get the design looking right. Once the design is 85% done, I move into visual design process and explorations.

Team meetings, hack-a-thons and reviewing with stakeholders.

Iterate, refine and get user feedback.
Below are a sample of a few of the various documents I have produced to help display findings in a visual way for others to easily look at and understand the scope of work. Documentation can come in the form of keynote presentations, google document outlines or quick infographics depending on who the audience is.

Testing, surveys and getting high level feedbacks at all stages of the process are key.
I believe that the design process really never ends. I think that there always will be improvements and pivots in the product development process and design process can be recycled at different speeds and levels. Sprint cycles can make testing hard but if evangelized well, there are always ways to get feedback in to learn from.
*One of my favorite process posters I have had since 2000 is the UPA poster. Click the image below to download a PDF.


Speak Human. Feedback is for human beings, so address them as such. Use the words your users use. – Dan Saffer, Author of “Microinteractions” 
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