What I do during my design process
To find and define the challenges of my project, I do everything I can to go deep into the problem.
I start by making a scope of what should be developed to guide the project: what needs to be done; which tools to use; those involved in the project and their possible tasks; average execution time and some estimates.
In the entire process of Design Thinking countless tools and strategies can be used and the designer needs to choose what the best framework to be used. The sequence might have different directions according to the progress of the process.
Every design processes in which I participated I usually apply CSD Matrix mapping what do I know and what I don’t know about the project and besides, I usually do the empathy map to know who is the user.
I’ll try to describe the method I usually apply.
My process goes in the following line:
empathy — surveys — prioritization — ideate — prototype — tests — iteration
Empathy is where all efforts must be focused during the design process so before anything else, I try to know who the user is. What he does. How he interacts with the product. What kind of feelings he will have with the product.
I start by doing a CSD matrix, listing as many elements as I can, find characteristics, set areas of interest, places, people, experiences that are related and can be exploited. Thereby, I intend to map and understand the context of the project and see what I really know about him.
To understand the user and ensure that design decisions are made and evaluated using real and fair evidence and not just assumptions and opinions, I try to do interviews and research with current and potential customers of the proposed service, structuring semi-fictional users, the Personas.
Combining all the research and observing where the users’ problems exist. In pinpointing users’ needs, begin to highlight opportunities for innovation.
At time to define the problems, mapping potential obstacles, interpreting user surveys and planning logistical details, I try to know what users are facing.
With a focus on users of the product, I try to understand and prioritize their necessities by making an empathy map to get an exact point of view of who he is, speak, think, do and feel.
Once the problems are defined, it’s time to brainstorm with all members of the design team and, if possible, other interested parts that might offer different perspectives on the same problem, in addition to finding out what ideas they have already tried.
The intention of the brainstorm is to have as many ideas as possible, find the best ones and then find out which ones to move on to the next step: prototyping.
Prototypes for the best ideas of the previous stage must be built by being real and factual representations of the ideas with which users can interact.
Often I prefer to create wireframes and initial prototypes with paper and pen, rather than software, to collect feedback from users. With the low-fidelity screens defined I start prototyping in high-fidelity. In case of an application, for example, all use of it must be represented, including onboarding and login screens, as well as the actual functionality.
I believe it is crucial that there are usability tests at some point in the MVP. Listening to people during the testing sessions possible many of the improvements I have built on.
This whole process is cyclical and it can and should be revisited to improve what has been developed.
Execution without design process may be a nightmare, but design process without execution is completely useless so it's important to emphasize that some companies don’t have enough team or even time-resource to follow the entire design process and at some moments there is a necessity to learn fast from the user and have faster inputs.
So creating an MVP to test it, make mistakes and learn quickly is also valuable for them and the designer is the vector that will drive this fast learning.
In the end, the goal of every design team must be create satisfied users.
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Interaction Designer, UX/UI, Semantix
Interactive Designer at Semantix. Almost two decades of experience in the area, worked in Advertising agencies as Young & Rubicam, DDB Brasil, Gringo, VML and startups as Semantix.