3 jobs in as a UX designer, I have learned many things and concepts that would aid in more efficient workflows.
The most important thing though, is the process I have come to employ when it comes to interfacing with team members about how design functions with their job functions and expectations. These team members are namely product managers, projects managers, business stakeholders and fellow designers.
I — Define & Scope
The direction and scope of work needs to be understood before starting any design work, and is usually set by business stakeholders and/or product owners. It is imperative to understand these concerns and define the problem that Design is here to solve for. This pre-project discussion is also great for managing expectations as the project moves forward.
The scope also informs how much work can and should be carried out in subsequent stages of the design process. Consult with engineering partners will also be kickstarted.
II — Immerse & Research
Research to immerse myself in the mindset of the humans who will be making use of the products I am designing. This isn’t necessarily a proper, industry-specific user research operations, but can also be online research to understand specific industries.
In the case of real estate, research on leading websites specializing on real estate transactions can quickly inform the Designer on jargons and common practices. This helps the business save on man-hours as well.
However, when resources and scope permit, user-centric research and testing will be conducted to observe real humans to uncover needs, learn about the industry landscape and forms initial ideas. A proper user recruitment process will be initiated, test approaches will be formulated and proper prototypes will be created.
III — Reflect & Plan
Regroup with business, product and design executives to find common ground, this includes work prioritization, possible changes to roadmapping based on insights gathered from the previous phase.
The insights from this third stage will continuously inform the previous stage. My design process does not travel along a linear timeline and multiple stages are in operation at any given time.
Communication with engineering partners continues at this stage, even before any actual UI artifacts are created.
IV — Make & Check
Come up with tangible solutions in the form of physical and digital artifacts (hand-drawn sketches, flow diagrams and sitemaps, etc).
These artifacts will explore different possible solutions and communicate the abstract ideas to teammates.
Feasibility is continuously checked when communicating with engineering, operations, marketing and finance partners with these tangibles as well.
Formalizing this design process for myself serves as a north-star for how my work contributes to the work of my teammates and with a clear communication of how I operate, this transparency will build closer collaborative relationships with them.
If you would like to talk about how your design process is run, feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn.