Every design starts with research focused on who the end user of the design will be. This involves creating personas, interviewing users, or conducting usability tests on an existing solution.
I also study up on trends and best practices. If we are building a dashboard, I find the best dashboard I can and ask the question, “Why”?
Mapping and Discovery
After researching who the users of the design will be, I like to map out user stories to understand how they will and won’t be using the product we are designing. This turns complex, bloated technical requirements into an understandable story. I’d rather listen to a story than a bullet point list any day.
This also helps create shared understanding on the product team of what the problem is and why we want to solve it.
Wireframing / Sketching
Alongside mapping, I will be wireframing out ideas for a design. Whether they are sketches on paper or a more thought out digital design in Figma, these wireframes are forming the skeleton of what a design will become.
After validating wireframes through some user testing, I will next move into building out a design with high-fidelity mockups and prototypes using Figma.
Evaluate and Refine
These prototypes are then put through usability testing with end users. The data gathered from usability tests helps me refine a design to ensure it works and functions exactly how the users need it to. Depending on timeframe or complexity, the refinement process can be relatively quick or lengthy.
Depending on the complexity of the project, I will either develop and build the design my self or team up with some developers with every pixel defined to make it happen.