I design experiences and I work across different fields of the design discipline. I’ve always grounded my projects on the study of the human being and his behaviours. I research before starting any new concept and I push for iterations with all the parties.
My professional experience and my studies helped me shaping my design process, a flexible skeleton that I modify according to the different briefs.
10 steps design process
1. Research: contextual and behavioural research, because human’s interests depend on contexts. Desk and field research, because qualitative data need to be supported by quantitative data and viceversa. Sustaining the theoretical analysis with exploration ‘on the field’ always provides new insights. In this phase I talk to people, and I work in team as much as I can.
2. Goal: definition of the goals of the project, state the research question/s help me understand what I am looking for, therefore what I need to design. Starting from the goal, also the structure and the milestones of the project come into place. Those outcomes help me during the rest of the process, providing me with deadlines and tons of ‘to do’ lists.
3. Insight: understanding of the data gathered in the research phase, categorisation and use of keywords to link topics together. In this phase I try to find similarities among what I just discovered, because any road can be valuable for the development of the project. Find relationships, hierarchy and order of importance.
4. Storytelling: definition of personas in order to fully understand the needs of the user/s. Initially I start with user stories, then I link needs together and I create personas and scenarios making sure to empathise with them. I always practiced storytelling, even when I’m drinking coffee in a bar I discover myself dream up about other clients’ stories. This phase is just the professional application of something that I already do for fun.
5. Concept Ideation: user flows link this phase with the previous one and lead to sketches in order explore different solutions. According to the nature of the project, definition of wireframes, technical drawings and measurements follow next to complete the creation of the concept.
6. Prototype - structure and Low Fidelity: build prototypes with paper first, then with the use of graphic software (i.e. Axure, Sketch, Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. according to the needs). Outcome of this phase are low fidelity prototypes, extremely valuable for a first test - for myself to understand if the concept is interesting enough to be carried on, and for the client to start sharing with him more concrete proposals.
7. Prototype - High Fidelity: this is the moment where high fidelity prototypes come in play. Color palette, typography, materials are explored and connections between components are built. Through HF prototypes interactions in a project are tested together with the client (if one) in order to be prepared for the following test phase. I make prototypes - LF and HF - for both digital and real products, the only thing that varies is the materials I use.
8. Test: collect feedback from the user in order to validate and/or modify the product. I try to collect as many data as I can, both qualitative and quantitative.
9. Iteration: go back and start the project from the phase that needs attention. There might be some elements I missed from the research phase, or perhaps the concept ideation phase needs to be improved, or simply I didn’t pick the right solution when I decided the concept to develop.
10. Validation: you never know at what stage of the iteration phase it will come, but at some point you realize that the product you designed is good enough for being shipped/launched/delivered to the client/… At this moment I feel satisfied, no matter what it is the nature of the product I've developed, because I feel I helped people solving a need and I made them bit happier somehow, and this sensation is simply amazing. Being useful to someone else is great for me.
Design, in its simplest form, is about rendering intent. @jmspool