It's a process
Designing products, web and mobile experiences requires way more than just a nice graphics, beautiful typography and pages templates.
What is the goal of the feature or product? What ideas and vision do we have for the project? Who are the users? What goals are they trying to achieve? I like to involve the key players and try answer some questions.
Some good places to start:
- Stakeholder interviews
- End User interviews
- Development/Engineering constraints
- Competitive/Comparative analysis
- Content & taxonomy strategy
When it's time to get moving visually, I start with a few very rough sketches of any ideas that come to mind. These allow me to put boxes and text on a page faster than i could in any program. Validating basic ideas and pitfalls comes fast. Sharing these drawings helps people visualize requirements. In the next wire-framing phase, there's less head scratching.
Clickable HTML Modeling
Creating rapid prototypes in an HTML-based clickable models provide a realistic view of how the product will work and enable a deeper level of feedback. The approach of using clickable models replaces the traditional approach of static user experience designs and wireframes.
The first part of this exercise is intended to provide recommendations for key use cases quickly. After reviewing "brainstorm" models with stakeholders and hearing feedback, I move towards furthering these concepts into a cohesive experience.
Creating features or templates that will match the needs of the site from a depth and content perspective and act as a guide for front and backend developers. This helps to inform everyone of the main flows and often elicits details that people hadn't realized or thought about.
Benefits of the clickable model process:
- Work through strategy and concepts quickly and iteratively
- Make sure the flow makes sense and meets the needs of the user
- Present animation and interactivity that isn't possible in a static wireframe
- Get buy-in before going down the road of design
- Provide a testable prototype for user testing and user research
Everyone loves the concept. But does it solve for the needs of the user? User testing ensures what is being created is what users want. Building relationships with customers, internal teams that would use the product and subject matter experts is fundamental to designing high complexity enterprise solutions.
This is where the rubber meets the road. After all this discovery, comparing, planning and qualifying, its' time to bring the vision and concepts to life. After most of the questions about how it's going to work and what it will do have been validated, design will paint in all those outlines with color, imagery and typography.
The need for a responsive web presence in our experience is no longer even a question. On large and small projects alike a responsive or mobile first design solution is the new standard. Developing an effective mobile solution starts with understanding the role that mobile plays in your users journey.
Ensuring that tablet and mobile responsive versions work as a seamless package with the desktop version keeps the site viable for all audiences.
Research, strategy, UX and design don't make a product. (Developers do!)
With so many browsers and device requirements, a top-notch development team is a must have for implementation. I like to have had a tech lead be part of the whole process from start to finish to ensure that development timelines will not impact a launch date.
One of the key things I try and workout with a dev team is what efficiencies can be achieved. What patterns exist vs components that need to be created. As we go through that process and work with a front end team, design review needs to be recognized and not overlooked.