My Process

The journey is just as important as the destination.




The best process is almost always improvised, and often not defined at all.

What?



Generally speaking, a design thinking process is a great idea. I've lived by it my entire career, but I've found that building a toolkit that's flexible and adaptable, then pulling out just the tools needed, when they're needed, give me better results, faster. That said, in solving design problems, I almost always go through the process below in some fashion, but the specific tools almost always vary. And while the design thinking process looks linear, neat and tidy, it's anything but. Steps blur together, learning new information can make you jump back one or more steps, and sometimes it's helpful to jump ahead to, say, test an idea before you even prototype it.



Empathize

Gain an empathetic understanding of the problem. Talk to experts, stakeholders, and most importantly, the people you're solving the problem for. Observe, engage and empathize with people to understand their needs, motivations, and experiences. The better the understanding at this stage, the better the results will be down the road.

  • Interviews
  • Research
  • Competitive Audits
  • Heuristic Analysis
  • Ethnographic Studies



Define

At this stage, it's important to unpack what was learned in the Empathize step in order to develop an understanding of the users and the problem you're solving. An actionable point of view gives you a strong platform for ideation.

  • POV Statement
  • User Journeys
  • Storyboards
  • Site Maps
  • Task Flow Diagrams
  • Personas
  • Taxonomy


Ideate

At this stage, I generate as many ideas as possible. Getting ideas from outside sources, fellow team members or any fellow design thinkers is a great way to explore solutions.

  • Sketch
  • Brainstorm
  • Site Maps
  • Whiteboard Sessions


Prototype

Whether it's simply a paper prototype or full-fledged HTML-based interactive prototype, it's a great tool to get in front of people. I prefer lightweight, fast prototypes to be able to iterate quickly on feedback.

  • Paper Prototypes
  • Wireframe
  • Interactive Prototypes


Test

Go back to the people you interviewed, show them your prototypes and get feedback. Does your solution meet their needs? Has it improved the experince for them?

  • User Testing
  • Interviews
  • Observation


Implement

Put the vision into effect! Also known as "Design Doing", this step is crucial to creating an engaging and delightful experience. My job isn't done when the idea is complete, getting the product into people's hands is the only way to create meaningful experiences.



Repeat

And of course, even when the product is released, I find it important to reflect on the process, on the experience just created, and when possible, go back to the beginning to make the experience even better.

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matt@antimattr.net


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+1 720-217-6029