1. Understanding Stakeholder and Business Needs
I work with the stakeholders to gather use cases, business requirements and specifications. I conduct initial research, competitive analysis, and user testing.
2. Understanding User's Needs
I conduct user interviews and user studies on similar products to understand the pain points. From the studies, I create provisional personas to be hyperaware of user's needs and goals and to help guide design decisions.
I start by sketching out task flows and user flows. I'll sketch out wireframes on paper and proceed to higher fidelity interaction flows. Features will be created based on prioritization set by my stakeholder and the team. I will start testing some of concept by conducting adhoc user testing and getting feedback from other designers, the stakeholder, and engineers.
Before handing off designs to the engineers and QA, I created design documents with detailed mocks and specifications on how a feature or page should behave. Below is an example design doc I provided the engineers and testers.
Rapid prototyping is essential to helping stakeholders, engineers, and designers understand the features and flows. I also work with engineers to prototype different technologies to ensure feasibility. Often times I would not have enough time to prototype the features or flow so I would find an existing interaction flow and show my engineers how it worked. Since most screens did not have complex animations, I usually “prototype” my flows using an iphone/ipad and with Dropbox installed. We build an internal tool called DropLink to help aid in file sharing and made the design and iteration process go quickly. I found this method to be the most convenient and time effective way to communicate a flow to developers and testers, especially with all the changes that were being made. It also made the approval process move more quickly.
5. Test and Iterate
Once the app was shipped, I started doing usability testing to see where the user’s pain points were. We used the qualitative data to guide our design decisions. To find users, I started with my social network, not anyone I know personally but friends of friends, this way I could get more honest feedback. Once I've depleted that source, I started posting ads on Craigslist. To filter out and screen my testers before they arrive I created a google form questionnaire. I sorted and prioritized users and had them come in for user interviews and usability testing.
Tracking metrics on the features we build helps guide future design and development. Example Of A Great Metric: Percent Of Users Who Share A Photo 1 + Times A Day, Per Week.
"a great metric...makes you look at all the other metrics and say "none of those other numbers matter if we don't get this right first." - Kate Rutter
7. Learn and Repeat
Analyze the metrics to gather insight on user behavior to help guid future feature and product design. We used this hypothesis and experiment based process adapted from Lean Analytics.