My Design Process

I believe that good design is simple, usable, attractive and more importantly, is invisible at times where it’s not needed. To achieve this, user empathy, a deep understanding of your users, a keen business vision and practical knowledge in usability and aesthetics is required.

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like,
Design is how it works.

— Steve Jobs

My process involves lean UX design practices based on user centric design, focused on my clients’ business goals and the target user needs. Working as a front-end developer has helped me in cutting down the time when it comes to design to execution. I discover, define, analyze, design, test, iterate and deliver.

1. Discover

Understanding Business

The first thing I do before starting a project is to study and understand the business and business goals, what the product is trying to achieve. To do that I understand the Target Market as a first step followed by competitor analysis, team workshops and research sessions with internal and external stakeholders.

Stakeholder Interviews

I interview the stakeholders and ask a lot of right questions to make a robust understanding of the business and come up with a set of clear business goals. I identify and document measurable business goals as well, so that at the end of the project, we know whether we are successful and to what degree.

Here is an example from the past.

Stakeholder Workshops

If there are more insights that needs to be uncovered and stakeholders need more clarity on the project, it’s recommended to do a workshop for the stakeholders. Depending on the scope of the project the design thinking process is iterated.

Competitor Analysis

I select about 5-10 competitors (direct and indirect) gathered from the stakeholder interviews and the user interviews, and identify their features, strengths and weaknesses.

Understanding the user

From my research on the business and business goals, I identify the users and the user archetype. It’s easier and intuitive to design for an archetype than a target demographic.

User Interviews

I conduct user interviews as part of my UX research and it is an easy and cheap way to obtain the needed information. This helps in focusing on the end user and their pain points. By understanding their challenges it is easier to design a product that solve their needs.

Focus Groups

Focus groups are a powerful tool is system development, but they should not be the only source of information about user behavior.

Surveys and Solution Valuation:

I conduct user surveys by inviting about 5 users to identify the list of pain points and the same is addressed with these steps:

  • Go to first problem in the list and come up with 5 best solutions
  • Come up with 5 worst ideas for solving the problem
  • At the end of this step, there should now be around 40 ideas each problem in solution valuation. 20 best and 20 worst.
  • Share ideas with the team and get 5 new solutions based on 40 ideas
  • Vote on solutions and discuss the results and select the best idea.
2. Analyze

In this stage, I identify different problem through stakeholder interviews, user interviews and competitor analysis and categories them as follows:

Crucial Problems: The most critical problems, which appeared in most user interviews or notes as key for the stakeholder. Only 20% of the problems would be here.

Important: Valuable idea, though not critical to product success. Around 40% of all problems found.

Not really: Problems that rarely appeared in the analysis. Without substantial value for the users nor the business goals. It usually around 50% of all problems found.

Share findings with Stakeholders:

When I finalize the problems list, I share it with stakeholders. Explain that this list of problems is not based on subjective ideas or recommendations.

Personas

Once we collate the different user interviews and study their needs, wants and worries a few archetypes emerge and these fictitious characters are called personas. There can be multiple personas which the business should cater to.

User Journey Maps

A user journey map is map defining the actions performed and emotions perceived by the user while using the product from start to finish. Mapping the user’s journey helps us identify the user experience of the product design from the beginning to the end.  This map defines the users’ incentive to using the product and the problems solved by the product for the users.

The map outlines the different stages of using the application and the user’s experience, emotions and feelings at these different stages from start to finish.

3. Prototype

Sketching

The fastest way to come up with solutions is using pen and paper to sketch the ideas.Sketching is an important step in building the barebones of the project. These doesn’t have to be detailed, but should be meaningful in conveying the purpose of a particular module or screen.

Wireframing

Wireframes are like a skeleton of a page. Unlike sketches, wireframes are a deliverable that are final within the scope of the current iteration. Wireframes are intentionally made without color, graphics and stylized fonts.

Wireframes are helpful for

  • Removing the distraction of the design and walk the client through the functionality and structure of the design
  • Identify issues with the interactions and flow
  • Gathering feedback and figuring out flaws early
  • Prioritize content, elements and heirarchy

High Fidelity UI

I design detailed, beautiful and delightful interfaces and deliver responsive solutions and interactions in Sketch or Illustrator, and where required, in HTML/CSS/JS.

I use Sketch and Figma to create high fidelity UI. I ocassionally dab in Photoshop and Illustrator for editing photos and vector graphics.

Prototype

A clickable prototype is created which I then use for testing with with the users and stakeholders until a final version is reached, which can then be developed into a working prototype. I use Figma, Invision and sometimes Marvel to create working prototypes.

4. Test

User Testing and Design Iterations

I test the designs with stakeholders and users to find out what works and what needs changes. I iterate this process until it’s finalized.

I use different tools for this, ranging from a simple polls like Mentimeter and to elaborate usability testing tools such as Maze and UXCam.

5. Deliver

At this stage, I work as a translator who speaks the different languages of developers, engineers, stakeholders and users to ensure that everyone understands each other. 

Having lead Front-end Engineering teams at different firms, I'm well versed in front end technologies, web standards and accessibility. I have hands-on experience working in templating languages/engines such as ERB, HAML, Liquid, ASP, Drupal and PHP. I also have a fair understanding of jQuery, Javascript and React. My tool of choice is Sublime Text with a bunch of packages to customize my workflow. I use Git for version control and iTerm with 'Oh my ZSH'.

I collect analytic user data and user behavior, gather heat maps, user abandonment and crash logs using tools such as Google Analytics, MixPanel, CrazyEgg and Clicktale and incorporate insights from this data to iterate and improve the experience of the product. I also engage with the users on social media and Appstores to gather insights on their problems.

I believe that successful UX is defined largely by numbers and scientific data, whereas art is subjective. 

Thanks for reading! For more info, please download my résumé here