Every single one of these steps isn’t always necessary, but collectively they are a good toolbox to draw from.
Step 1: Empathize. What is the problem?
I like to break things down into bite-sized pieces. So the first thing I do when I talk with a stakeholder about a product or product feature is to get a feel for what success looks like after the work is done. What’s the end game, or goal of this endeavor? Is this work influencing an organizational business goal?
Once I feel like I have a feel for what my stakeholder wants, it’s time to jump into the details…
- Kickoff meeting & timeline
- Measurable goals for success
- The audience and their needs
- Stakeholders and their needs
- Unique branding constraints
- Problems & opportunities
Ok, so now we have some details. This is a great first step, but we need to break these things down into more granular details and put a face on them.
Step 2: Define. Deeply understanding the problem.
- Interviews & surveys
- Current competition
- User stories
- The riskiest assumption
- Specific deliverables
Yay! Deliverables and dates to stick them to! User stories to understand the proper journey & user flow! Now let’s start framing this house out.
Step 3: Ideate. How can we solve the problem?
- User flow
- Low-fi mockups
Now that we have a structural understanding, we can flesh out the visual side.
Step 4: Prototype. Show an MVP than can solve the problem.
- Mood boards
- Brand reinforcement
- The core visual style
- Hi-fi mockups
- Clickable walkthrough
- Initial user testing (task analysis, card sorting, observation)
- Validating our assumptions
Now we need some UI components and system for managing them.
- Responsive grids
Ok all we need to do now is take the design and translate it into a real digital product!
- Hosting and domains
- Site configuration & page setup
- Coding templates and scripts
- Behavioral and unit testing
- Widgets or plugins
Once the application is built, it’s time to hammer it with testing. We need to make sure that all the content is there and that every deliverable is in it’s refined state. Does the end result make sense to the user?
Step 5: Test. Do real users feel like this would solve the problem?
- Staging link
- Quality assurance and browser/device testing
Launch & refinement
Woo hoo! But we’ll need continual user acceptance testing and refinement as we add & modify features! This is also the time to begin to measure how close we were to achieving our initial goals.