A design process is a cornerstone of making it possible to craft amazing experiences for users. My process will depend on the type of product I am designing. Different projects require different approaches. My design isn’t a linear process; it’s an iterative process. The are considerable phase overlap and usually there is a lot of back-and-forth. I find it important to accept the fact that my designs will never be perfect, so I take the time to research the needs of my users and aim to make my work a bit better for them.
In order to gain an empathic understanding of the issues involved, I start by consulting with stakeholders and gather insights on the goals of the calculator and brainstorm around its design at the highest level (basically, the concept of the calculator). Thinking about the key aspects and value propositions of the calculator: what it is, who will use it, and why they will use it. This helps create consensus around what the calculator will be and how to match user and team needs.
A great experience starts with an understanding of the users. When available resources and timing allows, in-depth interviews provide qualitative data about the target user, such as their needs, wants, fears, and motivations. Performing competitor analysis helps better understand industry standards and identify opportunities.
“Why” do users want/think/need it? It is important for me to empathize with the user's point of view and how they interact with the calculator. In order to better understand the calculator interactions from the user’s point of view, user persona's and stories are created.
Once I have grown to understand the users and their needs in the Empathize stage, I am ready to start generating ideas. With a "think outside the box" mentality, the goal is to provide multiple design concepts which highlight colour palette, unique functionality, and overall theme.
Sketching is the easiest and fastest way to visualize my ideas. I do this by drawing by hand on a piece of paper. It’s very useful during brainstorming sessions to help the team visualize a range of designs. I generally create high fidelity wireframes, often used as a foundation for prototypes and mockups.
I produce a number of scaled down versions of the calculator specific features, so we can investigate the functionality and effectiveness of the proposed designs. Prototypes get shared and tested within the team itself, in other departments, or on a small group of people outside the design team. This is an experimental phase, and the aim is to identify the best possible solution for each of the problems.
Validation is an essential step in the design process because it helps the team understand whether our design works for the users.
Testing with high-fidelity designs provides more valuable feedback from end-users. This is an iterative process where the results generated are used to redefine and inform the understanding of the users, the conditions of use, how people think, behave, and feel, and to empathize. Testing sessions and surveys with people who represent our target audience capture both quantitative and qualitative information from real world users.