Empathize

Understanding the problem

As I begin to work on a project I tend to ask lots of questions because I like to make sure I understand what the real problem is. As a natural problem solver I tend to quickly get myself into that situation. What is the user feeling? What are they thinking? What are they trying to accomplish? Then a persona is created.

I believe that when you empathize with the situation it allows me to set aside my own assumptions about the this project and gain real insight into users and their needs.  

 

Tools usually used during this process: 

Heart & Brain

Research

Research and finding existing solutions

During this step I tend to hoard a lot of findings. Either by downloading as many apps as I possibly can to see how others have done it, going through a lot of websites in different verticals, or by pinning things on my Pinterest boards and sometimes even saving my favorites my Trello for future references. 

At this point I am focused on gathering as much information about the problem as well as other solutions users may have used.

Tools usually used during this process: 

iPhone, Macbook Pro, Trello, Pinterest, Post its.

Define

What really is the problem here?

This stage is when I define the pain point, what is the user experience, and what needs to be fixed/done so there is a better experience? 

Tools usually used during this process:

Notebook, Pen, and more Post its.

Ideate & Prototype

Let’s create some 

In this step, we start creating the user journey, lo-fi wireframes, screen flows. Creating real representation of the initial idea. Lots of brainstorming and coming up with creative solutions. The more ideas the better!

Sometimes by prototyping I can  identify a new problem and have to go back to problem solving and then continue to create the prototype.  Depending on the client and project I usually try to do a quick inexpensive mockup of how it would work. Some clients do prefer a more high-end prototype in this case it does take more time but once we test it we already have the design elements and can just work on adjusting the design to work better based on the user testing response.

By the time prototype is ready I have a clearer view of how the real users would behave, think, and feel when interacting with the end product.

‘Prototype like you’re right, test like you’re wrong’

Tools usually used during this process:

Notebook, Pen, Sketch, Proto.io/Invision.

Test!

Does it really work?

This is TRUTH time! In this step, I find out if the flows and the initial designs are working, and if it is solving the user’s initial problem.  I enjoy creating A/B testing to see what works best but it depends on the project that I am working on. Testing reveals insights that may redefine the problem and we can go back and fix it before implementing the final findings. 

Tools usually used during this process:

Usertesting.com

Improve

and some times repeat!

Now I am ready to finalize designing the UI based on data which is one of my favorite parts. Depending on the client/project a lot of the times when I get to this step