Many people ask me about how I work. What does my process look like?
My design process usually follows three stages:
To provide a great experience, first I need to know about the business, goals, perspectives, product timeline, end-users, technology stack etc. This information gives me clarity and reasoning to the scope of the problems as well as the confidence to approach them.
The primary goal of the Discovery Step is to collect the data needed to move forward in the project. This includes analyzing the current product, if it exists. By the end of this phase, I have produced a document which will help answer any questions moving forward.
The Discovery Step is the most important phase because what is decided and mapped here sets the stage for the entire project. This stage required input from the client.
Once the direction has been defined, each decision made here on out is based on fulfilling the goals and objectives defined in this phase.
Before starting the design stage, I need content for each of the pages on the sitemap. Ideally this is plain text.
Once I have received the confirmed content, I begin working on wireframe ideas for each page.
Next, I spend time reviewing the client’s information and begin the researching and brainstorming stage. This process takes into account client competition, market trends, client differentiators, business history, business future, the current brand, and the brand the business aspires to be.
I sketch my initial ideas on paper until I have produced enough to collectively judge. This process allows me to quickly identify if an idea can even work. I avoid using color, photographs, or other stylized elements. Instead, I focus on the structure of the pages based on the website’s content and overall goal.
The development of the website’s identity occurs through concept-boarding. This concept board lets me start to set a visual language for the brand by including visual references. Examples of layouts, proportions, typography, photography, and general aesthetic feel are included here to help me support the concept.
The goal of this phase is to get client validation on my initial direction before progressing into the next stage.
During this phase the visual layout of the website begins to take shape. The Design Step is informed by information gathered during the ideas and prototyping phase. I begin designing parts of the websites as well as the layouts for the various screens.
Many designers make the mistake of jumping right to this step. They try to create a solution before fully understanding the problem.
The main deliverables of this phase are a documented site structure and a visual representation of the website’s own identity.
Breaking down the project in the method described here allows me to gain validation at various stages before proceeding to the next phase. This process helps me to reduce risk of working in the wrong direction.
By following this process, I not only delivery great work, but I also establish a strong relationship with the client. They want to keep working together and I get to keep doing what I love: developing brands.