As a sole practitioner, I tend to get far more work on the design side. As a product/project owner/leader, however, I much prefer to be involved on the discovery side as well. I can deliver solutions more on-point, and effective, if I am present and involved in the research.
Research, Experiment & Analysis
• Design Thinking Workshops
• Conceptual Ideation
• Lean UX
• Ethnographic Studies
• Competitive Landscape Analysis
• Heuristics Analysis
• User Story Development
• Feature Requirements
• Card Sorting
• Usability Testing
— Concept / Design / Post launch
• KPI development
• Field Testing
• A/B / Multivariate Testing
Whether through traditional research and discovery processes, or the participatory techniques of Design Thinking, the process of formulating a solution begins with a thorough understanding of the product, the prior state, the current problem or opportunity, the landscape the solution will have to exist and compete within, how that landscape is itself likely to change. Most importantly, an understanding of the human beings that will use this solution, defining who they are, developing understanding and empathy, mapping out the detailed journey representing their end-to-end experience.
Various circumstances can affect how primary research and discovery is conducted, but the closer UX can get to this research, the clearer the information will be, and the more accurate the results. Best practices put UX Strategy at the table through planning and execution of much of the traditional research (or at least with access to more than executive summaries), and leading Stakeholder interviews & Design Thinking workshops.
Experience & Visual Development
• Site Structure, Navigation and Architecture
• Interactive Prototypes
• Brand & Logo Development
• User Centered Design
• User Interface Design
• Website Design
• Charts & Infographics
• Hi End Photoshop: Concepts to Prepress
• Vector Illustrations & Icons
• Retouching and compositing
• Content Development & Strategy
• SEO development
• Site Optimizations
In this phase, while in some sense design has occurred, the designer’s internal design process needs to take in everything from the prior phase and bring it to life. With everything on the table, creative brainstorming will filter and modify the prior ideas and generate new ones. the ideas take shape, journeys translate to interaction and information flows, information architectures are established, leading to taxonomies & navigation hierarchies, leading to the UI.
The tasks involve: Design Concepting, the creation of Mood/Style Boards, Comps, Wireframes, Prototypes, Icons, Logos, & Style guides.
Tools: Photoshop, Illustrator, Sketch, inVision, Adobe XD, After Effects, Keynote, etc
Since design is iterative, at each step towards design maturity, we can test and validate our decisions. The learning from each evaluation is — you guessed it — discovery, and informs the next design cycle. In that light, there are really only these two phases. Learn. Try. Repeat.
Eventually, we are testing in the real world, using Analytics, Session Recordings, and Usability Testing to improve the experience for actual customers. The iterative design cycle stops when further incremental improvements cost more than the expected lift.
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