General workflow and accompanying methods.
Steps and methods introduced below are what I use most often when designing for projects of different kinds. If you're looking for a detailed list of tools I'm well-versed in, feel free to request my latest resume.
Each design project comes with its unique set of challenges, especially when business goals seem to clash with user experience design principles. Since there usally isn't one simple answer to what's correct, phase one of my workflow typically involves time and effort spent on identifying the optimal point of design through one or more of the following:
When designing brand new features of a product (or a new product), a thorough understanding of the MVP helps me stay on track of core business goals and dev constraints, lowering the risk of devising an over-promising design strategy.
Often a collaborative effort with Marketing. Data gathered on the strengths and weaknesses of competitor products is an important element in my effort to understand user needs associated with current market conditions.
When designing complex product features, I prepare a contextual map of user behavior and needs, organized in logical groups. This generates a clear path of user's thought process and helps articulate the core user problem I need to solve.
Other tools/methods I use in this phase: Heuristic Analysis, Quantitative Survey
Based on data collected and analyzed in the previous phase, a design strategy is crafted and presented to stakeholders in one or more forms outlined below. The objective of this phase is to firmly lock down what is the user problem, why is it worth solving and how would I go about solving it.
Personas provide clarity to user goals and act as a constant reminder of the MVP my design must focus on, while storyboards are excellent tools for mapping out the full user journey—what is the problem and how it is solved by design.
Used when the design brief given to me involves a complex wayfinding system. Site maps are also great tools for keeping track of the big picture: it's easy to become blindsighted by overlapping priorities at this part of the design process.
Wireframing is perhaps my favorite step in the design process, being the master reference point between strategy and production. About 60% of design feedback is received here to ensure an efficient production phase.
Other tools/methods I use in this phase: Customer Journey Mapping, Task Analysis, Content Auditing
Depending on the scale of project and business involved, deliverables from this phase are often produced alongside actual dev/engineering work in an agile environment, including but not limited to:
The more complex the product design, the earlier I prefer to take rapid prototyping into the design process. Typically only low fidelity mockups are used, therefore tools like POP are highly valued when timelines are tight.
Using deliverables from previous phases (i.e. Persona), user screeners and interview questions are created to validate high fidelity prototypes in both one-on-one and focus group settings, documented on video and paper.
Other tools/methods I use in this phase: A/B Testing, Eyetracking, Accessibility Checklist
In a fast-paced work environment, being flexible with changes in workflow is essential when responding to urgent business needs. As such, hierarchy of steps introduced so far are oftentimes mixed and rearranged to accomodate management asks, and I'm always happy to learn new tools and methods that help me craft more refreshing and delightful experiences.