Design Your Own Design Process Step By Step
Managers have developed dozens—at least—of processes that they believe improve efficiency and get better results. Those series of steps, however, may not match the needs of your design team. You might also find that some projects don’t fit into the restrictions of established stages of design? Who says you can’t make a design process of your own?
Start by learning popular approaches to project management
You may want to establish your own design process, but you should still take some time to learn from established project management methodologies. They may offer steps and concepts that you want to incorporate into your process.
With Agile, you create an iterative process that includes steps for:
- Planning the design process and defining goals.
- Creating the product design according to your established guidelines.
- Testing your design to find opportunities for improvement—UXPin works well during this step because it lets you create fully functional prototypes with interactive features and real data.
- Finalizing the first version of your product and releasing it to consumers.
- Using feedback from users to make additional product improvements.
- Continue the cycle until you retire the project and decide to use the current version of the product.
Scrum creates results quickly by planning ahead and relying on design sprints.
- Choosing someone who will direct the design project’s vision.
- Putting together a team of designers and developers with skills the project needs for success.
- Selecting a “scrum master” who can run daily meetings.
- Creating a list of the goals you need to meet during the design process.
- Planning your design sprints.
- Following a transparent workflow that lets everyone on the team see each person’s progress.
- Meeting daily to discuss successes, failures, and barriers.
- Making a prototype of the product to show the client – it’s very easy with a UXPin preview and share feature.
- Incorporating feedback into your plan and beginning the next design sprint.
- Continuing until you finalize the product.
Kanban gives you an extremely easy way to track a design project’s progress. You can use it successfully by:
- Visualizing and planning your workflow—this usually involves making columns for tasks that have been “not started,” are “in progress,” and have been “finished.”
- Determining all of the tasks that you need to accomplish during the design project.
- Establishing rules like deadlines and task assignments.
- Moving tasks through the categories until you have completed them all.
As the name suggests, Lean gives you a streamlined approach to managing design processes. Key concepts of Lean include:
- Setting specific goals and breaking them down into the tasks your team must complete reaching those goals.
- Spending more time working on the design project instead of planning the project.
- (User) testing designs for functionality and aesthetics before giving a prototype to the client.
- Making any necessary changes to satisfy the client’s needs.
Waterfall design processes recognize that you must finish some tasks before you can move on to others. Project managers commonly approach this by:
- Establishing the design project’s requirements.
- Working on all of the tasks required to complete the design.
- Bringing the designs together to create a prototype.
- Verifying that every feature in the prototype works.
- Delivering the product to the client.
- Managing updates as needed.
Identify your user persona
Regardless of the design process you decide to follow, you need to create user personas that help your team understand its target market. When you develop a user persona, think about features like:
- Pain points the user wants your product to solve.
- The user’s age, level of education, income, etc.
- Interests and values that will appeal to the ideal user.
- The devices that your user persona likely owns.
At the end of the process, you should have a concrete description of your user persona. It might say something like:
“23-year-old woman who recently graduated from college, wants to find ways to move her job forward, volunteers at a local animal shelter, and owns the latest iPhone.”
From this point, you can start to think about how your design makes it easier for her to reach the goals in her life. Perhaps you decide to build a career-oriented app that posts job openings and offers tips for getting a new position. Depending on whether you want to focus on a smaller niche, you might even create a product that helps animal-lovers find jobs.
Every person has numerous problems to solve. Just make sure that solving those problems becomes a part of your design process.
Use wireframes to outline basic ideas
Many designers have big ideas in their heads that they can’t wait to create in software. You want passion in your designers. Those are the people that do amazing work and push boundaries!
At the same time, you might want to slow them down to make your design process more manageable.
Requiring wireframes might accomplish that goal for your design team. Even as your expert designers roll their eyes at the rather boring process of making wireframes, you must admit that they have advantages like:
- Centralizing the team’s vision instead of letting each person pursue their own creative ideas.
- Improving development by ensuring that you have a sturdy structure before you add cool features.
- Saving money by shortening the design process and avoiding errors.
- Easier handoffs when one person can’t complete a task—perhaps she calls in sick—and someone else has to do the work.
- Improving the user’s experience by forcing your designs to think about the project from multiple perspectives instead of just making the product look amazing.
Build a library of approved assets
Early in the design process, you should build a system design that creates guardrails for your designers. The design system can include approved:
UXPin lets you add descriptions within your system design. Hopefully, the descriptions will prevent designers from barging into your office to ask why they can’t [insert interesting but unrealistic idea here].
Without a design system, some designers will take paths that don’t lead to your desired result. Stop that impulse by restricting them to the project’s approved options.
Get feedback from as many people as possible
You and the rest of your design team might feel a lot of enthusiasm for your work. You might even think that this project is the best thing you’ve ever done.
Get feedback from as many people as possible so you can get an outsider’s perspective. What seems amazing to the people working on a project could look odd to those outside of the team.
UXPin lets you get feedback from anyone, regardless of whether or not they have a UXPin account. When you send a link to your prototype, people with the link can interact with your design and leave comments. Hopefully, they will love your work as much as you do. If they find issues, though, take them seriously. There’s a good chance that other people will also dislike how the feature works.
Decide what steps do and do not work for your team’s design process
Experiment with design processes to identify steps that work for your team. If you find something that doesn’t get positive results, discard it. If you feel like your process misses something, brainstorm to find a new step that will improve your process.
You don’t have to follow someone else’s rules. You can make your own design process that helps your team get the best results.
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UXPin has several features that will support your own design process. Start your free trial today to see how it can contribute to the evolution of your design process.