/meth·
od·ol·o·gy

I may love the process more than I love my damn self.

.

Through mishaps, observations, and learnings— I’ve developed this framework to focus and guide my creative process. It’s iterative and can be changed when needed.

01——
discovery +
research

Research is the most critical phase of design, period. A comprehensive investigation allows me to peel back the layers and learn my subject. This also enables stakeholders to align on business goals, project requirements, and more importantly, verifies the problems to be solved— creating an overall perspective of how to proceed.

Some discovery methods include market research, data, user interviews, competitive analysis, and contextual inquiry about the subject.

Research is the most critical phase of design, period. A comprehensive investigation allows you to peel back the layers so that you can get to the core values. This enables stakeholders to align on business goals, project requirements, and more importantly — identifies the purpose and creates a baseline understanding of the audience and their expectations.

Some discovery methods include market research, user interviews, competitive analysis, and contextual inquiry about the subject. This phase verifies the problem to be solved — creating an overall perspective of how to proceed.

02——
what does it all mean?
02——
what does this mean?

02——
what does this all mean?


Now with all the artifacts gathered, I like to view the research in its totality. Artifacts can now be freely manipulated to understand the product features, roadmap, and targeted audience holistically. At this stage, I consider thought processes, needs, and expectations of the entire life-scape.

I love synthesizing data through some form of group discussion. When combined, these methods help identify common design patterns, themes, archetypes, and pain points across the experience. Data is then transferred into actionable items or functional areas of the experience. 

Some methods include user journey mapping, task flows, personas, mood boards, concept models, and sitemaps.


Now with all the artifacts gathered, I like to view the research in its totality. Data and artifacts can now be freely manipulated to understand the product features and targeted audience holistically. At this stage, I consider every individual’s thought processes, needs, and expectations.

I find it best to synthesize data through some form of discussion. When combined, these methods help identify common design patterns, themes, archetypes, pain points across the experience. Data is transferred into actionable items or functional areas of the experience. My analysis methods include user journey mapping, task flows, personas, mood boards, concept models, and sitemaps.

Now, with all the artifacts gathered, I like to view the research in its totality. Data and artifacts can now be freely manipulated to understand the product features and targeted audience holistically. At this stage, I consider every individual’s thought processes, needs, and expectations.

I find it best to synthesize data through some form of discussion. When combined, these methods help identify common design patterns, themes, archetypes, pain points across the experience. Data is transferred into actionable items and functional areas of the experience. My analysis methods include user journey mapping, task flows, personas, mood boards, concept models, and sitemaps.

03——
experimentation

03——
design + ideation

If I have the privilege, I start an open brainstorm based on priorities, then take a deeper dive— carefully exploring and documenting all ideas. When the concepts are at a place that seems most valuable to the user— I convert them into prototypes. The faster I can evaluate, the quicker I can learn and iterate—the better. The designs will see many rounds of design critiques and validation, both with the users and stakeholders during this phase.

Collaboration is critical— I’m always proactive about bringing stakeholders along the journey to avoid surprises. Keeping the conversation flowing creates cohesion, maintaining agreed expectations, and a clear scope. Lastly, a mutual understanding of the technological capabilities and limitations exponentially enhances the development process.

I start an open brainstorm based on priorities established in the Analysis phase. Then I take a deeper dive, carefully exploring and documenting all of my ideas. When the concepts have passed through design critiques and are at a place that seems most valuable to the user, I convert them into digital wireframes (or roughs). At this stage, I typically explore visual design, animation, and interaction treatments. The designs will see many rounds of design critiques and validation both with the user and stakeholders in this phase.

I love collaboration—I’m always proactive about looping stakeholders into my critiques early on to avoid surprises. Keeping the conversation flowing between development teams and stakeholders creates cohesion, maintaining agreed expectations and a clear scope. A mutual understanding of the technological capabilities and limitations exponentially enhances efficiency.

04——
prototype testing + iteration
04——
prototype testing + iteration

04——
prototype testing + iteration

Shit gets real now— test, and test often. Prototype testing allows flexible exploration of product functionality. This is a clear way to understand audience expectations, validate designs, and identify gaps. It’s also an organic method for recognizing feature-bloat and possibly additional features.

The prototypes see many rounds of ongoing user testing, making sure the efficacy of each design element is carefully evaluated. I balance efficiency and fidelity by creating rapid prototypes that will gain the most valuable user feedback. Test, iterate then repeat.

This is where shit gets real. The prototyping stage allows flexible exploration of product functionality. This is a clear way to understand audience expectations, validate designs, and identify gaps. It’s also an organic method for recognizing feature-bloat and possibly additional features. The prototypes see many rounds of ongoing user research, making sure the efficacy of each design element has been carefully and documented.

As with my methodology, this process is scalable. I balance efficiency and fidelity by creating rapid prototypes that will gain the most valuable user feedback.

05——
implementation

05——
development

Development begins as soon as the experience is validated and prepped for hand-off. It’s essential to be in frequent contact with the development/vendor team throughout the process. From dogfooding to initial release and maintenance updates— continuous communication allows me to monitor progress, and also gives insight into how to solve new design problems that might come up.

While the initial version gets implemented, the process starts all over again for the next version. 

Development can begin when the experience has been fully refined, vetted, and prepped for hand-off. It’s important to be in frequent contact with the development/vendor team throughout the process—from BETA and bug smashing to the first release and maintenance updates. Continuous communication allows a way for me to monitor progress, and also gives insight into how to solve new design problems that might come up.

After the first version has launched, this methodology starts again for version two.

design is a cycle of constant improvement, and for that— I’ve become obsessed with it.

Design is a cycle of constant improvement, and for that — I’ve become obsessed with it.