My Process
For Product and UX Design
Each project, product, team, and company is different. Some projects have a lot of time, people and a large budget, so more process can be used as needed.

Some projects have less time and resources, so less process is used.
I only use what is needed to get the product to market within the given time-frame, then refine and improve it over time.
General Process
  • Discovery - understand the subject, the business goals, and the users goals
  • Research - who are the competitors, and what are their offerings
  • Create Personas (if time permits)
  • Wireframe the current process / system (if it exists)
  • Define the problems to solve - agree on the defined problems with stakeholders
  • Discuss the possible solutions with stakeholders and get agreement
  • Define and agree on the timeline to release MVP (or next release)
  • Ideate multiple solutions, and choose the best one
  • Wireframe a proposed improved process / system
  • Create exploration designs
  • Create a prototype
  • Test the prototype with users
  • Define areas for improvement
  • Refine the designs based on user feedback
  • Create assets for development
  • Sync with development to implement version 1
  • Move on to version 2 features
What are the business goals?
Why does the business want to build this product/service? (besides profit).

Business goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound).
  • What is the Market? is there a market? is there research or evidence to support this?
  • Who are the users? what are their needs? what are their pain points?
  • Is there a history? is this an existing product, or a totally new product?
  • Who is the competition? Are there any competitors? How good is their offering? How could it be improved?
What are the users goals?
Why would a person want to use this product/service?
  • Does it help the user to achieve their goals? (in this specific area)
  • Does it solve problem X?
  • Is it faster?
  • Is it cheaper?
  • Is it better, easier to use, superior design, customizable, scalable?
  • Does it offer something the competitors don't?
Problems
What are the problems to solve?
  • What are the problems the business needs to solve for this to be successful?
  • What are the problems the users need to solve?
Solutions
In what ways can we solve these problems?
  • Come up with multiple solutions
  • Refine to the most suitable solution or two
  • Wireframe the top solution or two
  • Review with the team and choose a direction
  • Create design options
  • Create a prototype of the designs
Design
Example of a whiteboard session used to draw and discuss elements of the design.
I work through possible design solutions with other designers, PMs, developers, and stakeholders. This can be done on a whiteboard, by sketching, or by jumping straight into designs (when a pattern library already exists).
Example of some of the links and screens in a prototype I built to demo an app
When the process/flow is agreed, I then create a "hi-res" flow to demonstrate how the app/service works in more detail. This uses the actual designs and is printed as a large poster and placed on the wall to walk people through the app/flow.
Review with stakeholders
Me going through a project flow I created in Sketch. This was the length of the room and it showed how the user 'flows' through the app, how screens link to each other, edge cases, and it described the features of each screen. I also made this into an InVision prototype for further clarity and testing with users.
Example of some of the links and screens in a prototype I built to demo an app
A closer view of some of the screens and annotations (design documentation) from a flow, to describe the features and the users path through the app.
These flows are a lot of work - but well worth it. Stakeholders and developers love them. Seeing a large printout on the wall and walking through it together seems to work better than viewing on-screen only, for most people.

You can also stick notes to it or write directly on it. The only downside is they can be expensive (if using external print services) and you will need to re-print after each round of updates.
Tools used and lessons learned from creating large "user flows" like this...
  • Created the first flow in Adobe InDesign. Exported all screens from Sketch as PDFs and imported into the InDesign flow
  • Over time, realized the management of the flow was too much work (using InDesign)
  • Switched to creating the flow in Sketch directly. No more exporting every screen when updated
  • Sketch was not designed for this and has its own problems - like managing many layers
  • To simplify - removed all phone frames, and kept the arrows outside of the artboards/screens
  • Ongoing issues - getting others to name their layers and keep them in order
  • Abstract (the app) at times can overwrite work. Save files locally as well as syncing in Abstract. Abstract also reorders layers randomly (pet peeve)
Test with users
  • Write the test script (questions to ask the users per screen)
  • Test the prototype with users (minimum 5 people)
  • Compile the results into actionable tasks (what needs to be fixed first)
  • Create a presentation including video clips to show and explain why we need to update certain designs

After testing a prototype with users, I compile the feedback into prioritized actionable tasks (in XL) to define which feature designs need to be updated, in order of priority.

Colour code:
Green = OK, no change needed‍
Yellow = could be improved but did not block users‍
Red = Blocks some users and needs to change

These changes can be anything from terminology (simple text changes) to moving, improving, or removing sections of the app.
Present the research findings
I then create a presentation to show (using short video clips) and to explain why some areas of the designs may need to be updated.

Note: This is only needed if development begins work before design is complete (which happens most of the time, unfortunately).
Feature evolution
One of the results of testing with people is the need to evolve the design, to make it more usable for more people. For this reason, the design team should always be a few sprints (or months) ahead of development.

1. Design
2. Test with users
3. Refine and finish design
4. Then code
An example of the evolution of just one of the features (finding and adding devices) over time.
An example of the evolution of a feature - finding and adding devices.
The left side shows an early design with less functionality. The right four screens show how it evolved.
We also needed to change the designs because of changes in iOS, which made scanning WiFi a lot less accurate. Also, when testing with users, many asked was there a way to add devices manually (some users did not care for scanning their WiFi).

When you add devices manually, you also need a way to add more than one of each model, so the quantity stepper needed to be introduced.
Lessons learned
  • The first solution is not always the best (to users) - even if it makes it faster and easier for users
  • Don't rely on third party products/vendors for your product to work. If the vendor fails - so do you
  • The current solution may not work long term. External changes cannot be foreseen
  • Have multiple alternative solutions ready to go (at least in your mind)
What I do
  • Concept creation
  • Workshops with stakeholders
  • Market and competitor research
  • Product designs
  • User experience and user interface design
  • User flows
  • Prototyping
  • Script writing for user testing
  • User testing
  • Final visual designs
  • Icon design
  • Asset production for development
  • Design documentation
  • Work directly with development teams
  • Work directly with third party vendors
  • Meet with clients
  • Produce content and displays for trade shows
  • Demo products
  • Manage a design team
  • Source, interview and hire designers
  • Setup and train staff (designers, sales, PMs)
  • Get stuff done!
Skills used
Adaptability
Design
UX / UI
Product Design
Ideation
Prototyping
Writing Content
Sketching
Organization
Team Management
Team Direction
User Testing
Workshops
Collaboration
Project Management
Presenting to Stakeholders
Working with Development
Working with Vendors
Meeting with Clients
Persistence
Tools used
Sketch App
Abstract
InVision
Principle
Figma
Grammarly
Adobe Creative Cloud
Adobe Photoshop
Adobe Illustrator
Adobe InDesign
Adobe Dreamweaver
Webflow
HTML
CSS
Google Docs
Office 365
Planner
Android
iOS
Mac OS
Windows