Designing and developing a digital product can be a daunting task. In order to make it less stressful and more likely to succeed, I like to follow the design process pictured below. I have used this process successfully on a variety of projects, sometimes with project specific modifications.
I like to start with a series of client interviews. Because I wish to create a long-lasting partnership with my clients, I find this stage crucial. It is very important that we find ourselves on the same page by defining project expectations and setting project objectives and deliverables.
When we have decided on what we are building and why, project kicks-off with Research. This phase can be as long or as short as we agree is needed. It is also by no means limited to the listed techniques. Even if the project budget does not allow for an extensive research phase - user interviews can take a long time and be expensive, I recommend to use other tools and techniques in order to inform the next phase of the project.
With all the information I collect during the research phase, we move on to Analysis and Synthesis. During this phase is where all the magic happens.
I make sense of the data mess I collected and turn in it into useful and usable information. There are several techniques that can be used to accomplish this and I like to include my clients in these, as I find it helps them to better understand where we are, what we are building, how are we doing it and most importantly why we are doing it. This is the phase during which very important artifacts are developed, such as Personas, Process flows, User journey maps, etc.
After these artifacts have been developed, I move on to the phase called Ideation and Validation. It is called Ideation because this is where the ideas materialize and come to life. I do this through a series of sketching and brainstorming sessions, among other techniques. I find it is important for the success of the product to include both the management and development teams from the client side. This way we all find ourselves on the same page and make sure design doesn't take a wrong turn.
It is also important that once sketches and/or prototypes have been created, they go through a series of validation and refinement.
The last phase of the project is Delivery and Measuring. This is usually the phase where I hand over the design to a UI/visual designer as I don't do this myself. I support the UI designer with advice and co-working sessions in order to achieve the optimal result.
Part of the measuring phase can take place while the product is still being developed, by validating designs and prototypes with actual users of the product. The economic and behavioral metrics can be measured after the product has been released.
This process is by no means a perfect process. However, I keep working together with my clients to make it better.
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