What's the problem I should solve? Doing User Research allows us to listen to the user, understand how they use the product and what would truly help their experience be a successful one. User Testing, Personas and User Journeys are additional helpful tools along the way. Including space for research in the process is critical, doing things right the first time ultimately saves time and money in the end.
"If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.” -- Albert Einstein
Once we know what we should be solving for it's time to make sure the entire team is on board. We need to analyze our user's feedback and make sure we're taking a goal-oriented approach, rather than a feature-approach. Our strategy must solve the problem, not just add new features. So we set our goals with time-lines, and metrics (what are we going to measure and how) and include the team on all expectations.
"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." --Henry Ford
Design & Test
Then it's time to design the product using best practices. Starting the conversation with whiteboarding or pen and paper sketches is always the fastest method. Depending on the product solution, quality needed and timeline LoFi or HiFi Wireframes can be produced and then the Prototyping fun begins.
Using guided or unguided User Testing is paramount. We are not our users and this is the time to discover if our thesis and solution is correct. There's no shame in being wrong, it's a signal that tells us to change direction quickly and moves us towards a better destination.
“Styles come and go. Good design is a language, not a style.” --Massimo Vignelli
Develop & Deploy
Then it's time to pass the information onto our developers and build this product! Producing user friendly Functional Specifications makes happy developers. Communication and working with talented developers is key to producing a fantastic product.
"Without requirements or design, programming is the art of adding bugs to an empty text file." --Louis Srygley