Having worked with many clients and collaborated with various digital agencies across multiple industries, I’ve seen all kinds of processes. But the best processes are the ones that focus on the user while promoting flexibility, agility, and collaboration. I strive to strike a balance between the-sky-is-the-limit brainstorming and measure-twice-cut-once practicality. Here’s how I like to work:
Learn to love your users
Understand what the users need and the problems they are trying to solve through empathy, analytics, targeted surveys, direct observation, and market research; identify personas and document their motivations.
Define the project and its goals
Conduct visioning sessions and stakeholder interviews; carefully guide everyone toward the same destination; align proposed solutions within a long term strategy.
Research and explore the possibilities
Explore the competitive landscape to analyze trends in the industry; brainstorm the craziest possibilities; refine wild ideas into practical solutions.
Plan the user’s journey
Sketch out user flows and map their journey; identify your digital touch-points and plan your engagement strategy; refine your language to speak directly to your identified personas.
Organize the chaos
Visualize your site’s structure through card sorting and high-level overviews; diagram and detail your sitemap within a thorough information architecture; create low-fidelity wireframes to start nailing down requirements, strategize content, and define functionality.
Formalize your plan
Take inventory in existing content and look for gaps; conceptualize tools and functionality that will help the users achieve their goals; prioritize and evaluate return on investment.
Wireframe, prototype, test
Turn ideas and sketches into high-fidelity prototypes; mimic functionality and fine-tune interactions; test iteratively and often with actual users.
Design with purpose
Turn prototypes into designs that focus on usability and accessibility; guide users toward points of conversion with effective color strategies and persuasive design techniques; elevate and enhance the brand with every design decision.
Deliver with confidence
Present your designed solution; have purpose and reason for every single detail; collaborate and optimize; deliver organized assets to developers with the help of defined processes and efficient tools.
Of course every project is different, so flexibility is paramount. Variables in timeline and budget can warp any process quickly, so I boil it down to the basics: know your user; know your goals; know the brand; use the right tools; collaborate and test; optimize and refine. Oh, and celebrate often.