Preliminary research is a first step in my design process when I work with a new client.
To be prepared for a first meeting, I gather and investigate public information about the product and client: brand history, product categories, target markets, audience segmentation, and interaction channels.
If possible, I review target website's web analytics data. A quick check of basic google analytics reports brings me an initial understanding of the website structure, performance, traffic sources, and user behavior.
For some projects, I conduct advanced data analysis that often helps me identify potential issues and prove/disprove the hypotheses.
SWOT Analysis is a structured assessment technique of identifying internal Strengths and Weaknesses, and external Opportunities and Threats of a product, feature, or business.
It prompts project stakeholders to develop a fuller awareness of the current situation to guide strategic planning and decision-making.
Because every experience competes for users’ attention, competitive analysis is a must have stage of the design process. Even if the project scope doesn't include a formal competitive analysis, I do it for myself.
Direct competitors review helps me define common product features and highlight possible design solutions.
Indirect competitors study provides a better understanding of user needs and helps gathering design patterns applicable for the project.
UX Audit is a diagnostic tool to pinpoint which areas and features cause headaches for customers and reduce conversion. It is my point-of-departure and source of valuable information for the next stages.
For most projects, I create an Audit Report that contains issues, recommendations, and positive things noticed during the review. When the formal report is unnecessary, I keep the work records (e.g., screenshots, notes, and meeting minutes) in Notion for internal use.
Unlike the standard personas that represent the user research results, Proto Personas are the creator's best guess at understanding who is using the product and why. They are a collection of heuristics, market research, and intuition providing an opportunity to articulate the target audience, their needs, and behaviors.
I've used Proto Personas on several projects to conduct task analysis, evaluate audit findings, prioritize features, and summarise what project stakeholders know about users.
In my perception, effective design solutions should address specific business goals and user needs. I try to keep a balance between user experience against business needs and technical capabilities.
Often internal stakeholders have additional goals for a project beyond the primary business goal. Understanding those goals can help the team ensure project success and maintain stakeholder support.
A journey map is a visualization of the process that a person goes through to accomplish a goal.
In its most basic form, journey mapping starts by compiling a series of user actions into a timeline. Next, the timeline is fleshed out with user thoughts and emotions to create a narrative. This narrative is condensed and polished, ultimately leading to a visualization.
Sitemap is a hierarchical diagram that shows the information architecture of a website. It provides a visual representation of the site’s organization and how different sections are linked together.
I use sitemaps to define the taxonomy (categories of information for a website) through the related content grouping. They also help identify where the content should sit and show the relationship between different pages.
Information Architecture captures how the different features will be organized and accessed.
The key goal is that users can easily find needed information through proper organization, navigation, labeling, and searching systems. In addition, good information architecture ensures that there is no information breakdown or explosion with the scaling of information over time.
Medium Fidelity prototype is a prototype with limited functionality but clickable areas which presents the interactions and navigation possibilities of an application. Medium fidelity prototypes are usually built upon storyboards or user scenarios. Through these prototypes plots can be more easily presented.
For every action step a basic visual design is created. The medium fidelity prototype is suited for validation of the interaction concept. In contrast to a paper prototype and static wireframes the understandability of interaction elements can be validated.
Mockup is a static, high-fidelity simulation of the finished product that delivers the visual look of the product design—including typography, iconography, color, and overall style.
Where a prototype focuses on interaction design, mockups establish how users will interpret the brand through its visual identity.
Project Requirements Document includes functional requirements, technical constraints, and other applicable non-functional requirements (e.g. performance optimization actions, devices and browsers support, testability, maintainability, data integrity, search engine optimization, and so on).
When it is necessary, I write functional requirements, create user stories, and review Project Requirements Documentation.
High-fidelity (hi-fi) prototypes appear and function as similar as possible to the actual product that will ship.
Designers usually create high-fidelity prototypes when they have a solid understanding of what they are going to build and they need to either test it with the real users or get final-design approval from stakeholders.