Ideal Vs Real Process
For any design project, there is the idealized process and then there’s what really happens. We know that the ideal process — the 7 steps we show below — is not a great fit for everyone or every project. We also get that the realities of being in business mean that you might need to change up the order, short-cut certain parts, or change and adapt to better meet your needs. That’s okay.
We promise to:
- Respect your idea
- Listen carefully to what you need
- Make suggestions based on our experience, not on how many hours we can bill
- Always remember that this is your project.
We’re provided information below about our idealized steps. We also link to longer articles if you’re the type to want to dig in. A great beginning is a 30-minute, free virtual coffee. We can get to know each other, what you’re looking for and see if there’s a fit. No pressure.
Build Empathy to Avoid the Product Death Cycle
You know your business, your customers and you have a sense of where this all needs to go. You also know that an estimated 80% of digital products fail in their first year. While user research is no guarantee, it will definitely increase your odds of success. It also can help reduce costs in the design and development phases. There is much less backtracking and experimenting. Starting with solid evidence is a smart first step.
Align Your Digital Product Strategy
You have an idea for a new app, a pivot or a redesign. Fantastic! But wait, are you sure that everyone on the team shares the vision, mission and strategy? Chances are they don’t. Chances are if you have not clearly stated and reached an agreement on these three things, then there is likely no clarity here. What we’ve seen is that when we take a bit of time early on and get everyone aligned on these three things, you can save significant money, time, and frustration later on. Your odds of success dramatically improve too!
Define Scope and Structure
A system map, also known as a high-level user flow diagram, is very much like a street map or a map of a hiking trail. When done right, it’s something everyone can get behind because it helps us all understand the complexities and find ways to work towards a shared vision. System mapping is a fantastic way to define the scope, get a clear sense of how users are entering and leaving the system, as well as identify places or opportunities for data integration.
Wireframes, the Meat of the Design Sandwich
At NextWAVE we are firm believers in a bottom-up design process. Once we understand the structure and scope, we develop the interaction design layer using wireframes. This lays out each screen type, lets us define design patterns, and work through both macro-level flows as well as find opportunities to create helpful and pleasing micro-interactions.
Look and Feel
The visual design is the last layer of the design work. It is the part that brings the structure and interaction design to life. It is the most expressive part of the design process. It is the look and feel. To paraphrase the Big Lebowski, it’s what brings the who experience together.
You never get a second chance to make a great first impression. Before your product launches, you need to ensure there are no usability issues, that things work as you expected them to. Usability testing is a great way to do that. While the process to this point is excellent, and we typically don’t find a bunch f gotchas, we usually find ways to make the experience even better.
UX Research + Strategic Foresight
At NextWAVE, we know that in any research engagement, users can’t help but leak their deeper motivations and values. By combining the insights gained in a program of user research with strategic foresight tools, we can help you grow. Even in very turbulent environments.
book a free 30 minute virtual coffee!
Most days between 8 - 10 am and 4 - 6 pm Pacific time are blocked off for virtual coffees. Pick a date and time that works for you and schedule a call. If you prefer a different time, reach out through our contact us form and we'll find a time that's more convenient for you.