Design approach (with examples)

I follow a design thinking process which is iterative, hypothesis-driven and based on evidence. The key is to bring ideas to life based on how real people think, feel and behave. The entire process may include: 

  1. Product and user research
  2. Analysis, UX/UI audit and strategy
  3. Ideation and wireframing
  4. Design system and UI design
  5. Implementation
  6. Testing, validating, iterating

 

Stage 1. Product and user research

Product and user research is a key to designing a great user experience. I will try to conduct insightful research before making any product decisions. I need to see the product vision clearly and empathize with target audience to understand their experiences, goals, needs, fears and motivations. This may include collecting various data from real people to create empathy maps and behavioral archetypes. 

I use Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas or User Centred Design Canvas to recap what problems we are trying to solve, what solutions we offer, how we are different from competitors, what is our revenue model, what channels we will use to acquire users, what metrics we will focus on and most important what is our Unique Value Proposition. 

Product and user research example

 

Stage 2. Analysis, UX/UI audit and strategy

I may create a User Experience Audit (UX Audit) of the current experience to identify key problems and solutions. The UX Audit will reveal which parts of the product could be causing headaches for users and problems for business. I will use a variety of methods, tools and metrics to analyse where a product is going wrong (or right).

The UX audit report may cover:

  • Usability
  • Information architecture
  • Interaction design
  • Conversion & user flows
  • Visual design
  • Content, messaging & language
  • Email communications (optional)

Check my Medium page for UX audits

 

Stage 3. Ideation and wireframing

During this stage I start planning and wireframing the updated experience. This may include revising information architecture as well as mapping user journeys, scenarios, user stories, user flows. The important things to consider are copywriting and overall content strategy. Microcopy will also be applied and updated at different stages.

Examples:

 

Stage 4. Design system and UI design

Based on the findings and wireframes, I start creating visual design for the updated experience. The outcomes will be high fidelity UI designs ready to be handed over to developers. 

I will communicate how every piece of the design looks and works and will provide information about a product, such as user interface design details (colors, character styles and measurements) and information (flows, behaviors and functionality). 

Examples:

 

Stage 5. Implementation

The goal of this stage is to implement the designs and overall user experience. I will follow all the development work to make sure UX is consistent and done right. 

 

Stage 6. Testing, validating, iterating

The above design and development process is not linear. The stages of the process often have considerable overlap. As we learn more about the problem being solved, the users and the details of the project (especially the constraints), it may be necessary to revisit some of the research undertaken or try out new design ideas.

To design a successful product, we will need to adopt a process of continual improvement i.e constantly refining and improving the product based on both qualitative and quantitative feedback data from users. 

 

Key principles: 

  1. We don’t just build a product, we build relationships with people.
  2. Every user facing experience or a proposed feature should have a UX doc attached.
  3. Keep things simple!
  4. Make things clear.
  5. Again, do not overcomplicate.
  6. Why are we doing this?
  7. Apply scientific thinking vs wishful thinking.
  8. Convert guesses into hypotheses.
  9. “If we do {this}, then {that} should happen”.
  10. No need — no build. If nobody needs it, then don’t build it.
  11. If there’s no clear value in it, it is not worth discussing.
  12. The simplest execution is usually the best one.
  13. Refer to qualitative and quantitative data. Test early and often.
  14. Focus on the efforts that bring the most value.
  15. People, not users.
  16. Dig into the root cause of a problem. Use 5 whys technique.
  17. Identify delighters vs frustrators.
  18. Support vs manipulate.
  19. Naming is crucial.
  20. Microcopy is very important.
  21. Content is the key.
  22. Remove all noise.
  23. Make sure people can recover from errors well.
  24. Apply Kano Model.
  25. Start with the end goal/final destination and then plan all previous steps.
  26. Focus on results, not deliverables.
  27. Be productive, not busy.

Example case study. Picterra SaaS.

Picterra is geospatial cloud-based-platform specially designed for training deep learning based detectors. It automates the analysis of satellite and aerial imagery, enabling users to identify objects and patterns (road cracks, damaged roofs etc.) at scale, anywhere on Earth.

As a full-time UX Designer, I was leading every aspect of Picterra User Experience. It included: research, analytics, interviews, prototyping, UI design, usability testings, conversion optimisation and many more.

Check the case here: Picterra SaaS Case Study