This will probably be a bit wordy but Ideally, I begin every project with two questions.
What makes this product or brand different?
Or, what can make this product or brand different?
I research the space and the competition. I’m looking for what I don’t find. I want to know all the constraints so I can define something disruptive my clients are able to capitalize on.
My rituals include a saturation of information on a continuous basis. What’s new in tech. What ideas that can be mixed together or extrapolated on.
Look for something different that stands out. I think about the demographic that will be interested in a few years. I research to understand their usage and how that might apply to a project so my clients can follow through with the ideation of progressive long-term solution. It’s possible to lead the space when the two meet.
Now we can put together qualified user personas.
It’s time to share information. Brainstorm with others and listen for possible constraints we will need to plan workarounds for.
Once there is a clear path we feel good about. It’s time to use a notebook and pencil to mock up some rough wireframes and prototype. It helps to leave your desk and get outside so you feel more creative and unconstrained.
With as much research, user studies, and analytics possible, it’s time to put a lot of thought into what we have learned. It’s important at this time to have the product or brand in the back of your mind putting together usage and design patterns that will form a unique idea that sets your product apart from everyone else’s. I like to keep my notebook on me and jot down ideas as they come. A lot of the best ideas started out on a napkin, including a web portal navigation system I created that was patented.
Once we have a concept we are excited about I sketch a user journey and from there I follow a fairly standard process.
Wire Frames. Team conversations. Communication with various departments, customer services is a big one.
Now user tests any way possible, even if it’s only friends you know. Although preferably done right, we will A/B Test, qualitative and qualitative user research, heatmaps, recorded prototype testing, etc.
Now it gets really fun, design.
If it’s agile development I still do what I can to get ahead of the schedule even if it means a little personal time. That’s about it.
Always ask yourself, “What is next?
Once it’s Trendy I’m already doing something else.
Stay educated constantly seeking out disruptive ideas technology and methods.
I just found a couple things a few hours ago I love. A must watch. Innovating through solutions “Design Talks With The Bonnie and Clyde of The Creative World https://vimeo.com/136181920 They are doing it right!
Codrops looks cool. http://tympanus.net/codrops/ It doesn’t hurt that My Partner is a wicked researcher. I request topics and she drops a couple dozen articles into The App “Pocket” I can read offline when I have moments here and there. I speed read and absorb as much information as possible every day. Having the app read to me at two and a half times speed is a huge advantage to using your eyes to read!
This formula has worked very well over the years in creating many groundbreaking digital products.
~ Matt McLemore