My Design & Development Process
I’ve spent 15 years helping companies design and build better digital products, as both a designer and developer.
In addition to design skills, my expertise ranges from research to building and usability testing prototypes, to accessibility reviews, to UI design and development and creating design documentation for engineering teams.
I've also worked in senior design leadership roles, leading design strategy, mentoring others, and facilitating design critiques.
I bring any the following to projects:
Planning & Research
When starting a new project, I try to do as deep a dive as possible to understand the problem at hand.
As well as learning from customers (who, after all, are the experts in their field), I also do competitor analysis to see what others are doing. I also do site and app usability reviews, as often a complete redesign is unnecessary, in cases where fixing simple usability issues can address the majority of problems.
I review business goals with customers, looking at whether things are specific, achievable and measurable through data or analytics, or if a better definition is needed. I also interview existing users to identify pain points and help gain real insights, preferring to interview them and observe use in the context where they use the app day-to-day if possible.
Collaborative learning & workshops
I always find that the design discovery process only works properly if you can get customers and stakeholders engaged and involved. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is in a design discovery workshop setting.
Using creative exercises with clearly defined boundaries, one can engage people, iterate on possible solutions, and properly explore and refine ideas and map user flows, making sure both designers and customers maximise learning and uncover real issues.
I'm happiest when prototyping out ideas quickly, using the lowest fidelity tools (like whiteboards, post-its, pen, and paper) in a fast and inexpensive way. Jumping into code or design tools too early means you can miss out on exploring ideas.
Once a concept is more fully-formed, I then move over to my preferred design tools (Figma), creating high fidelity designs and/or moving to code in the browser.
Prototyping & Coding
Whether testing design in the browser or on a device, I run structured user testing sessions, with predefined interview scripts using specific test tasks. I record these sessions if possible to replay to stakeholders, taking notes and compiling results for easy analysis.
I test at all stages of the design lifecycle with users where possible, whether using card sorting to determine the right information architecture, comprehension exercises to test way-finding, lightweight testing with colleagues testing an ideal path through designs, or testing a finished live app.
Product launch is very much not the end of a project. Using analytics, we might see how people work their way through an app, and adjust accordingly.
If it is a large scale project with multiple developers and phases, I often produce living style guides, which sit alongside the product (if web-based). These contain code samples and examples of components used in the project, making code reuse and refactoring easier in later phases. This helps onboard new developers and designers to the project.
Having worked on the web since its infancy, I've been hands-on in all aspects of digital design including UI, UX and front-end development along with consultancy experience. As a result, I relate to and communicate well with team as a whole, from designers, researchers, engineers/developers, to senior stakeholders.