Heres a brief overview of my design process.
Understand – Empathize – Research – Design – Test – Iterate
Understand and empathize:
– Finding the real problem to be solved. I take great effort to accomplish this as much as possible. The problem is broken down and compartmentalized into smaller problems for ease of understanding and solving it. An example of this being implemented can be understood from this project, where I could design an improved menu only through actual interaction with users. It helped understand the real problem affecting them.
– Identify and understanding our target user base. I try to think like them and perform tasks like them to understand their thinking and their capability.
– Define the outcome desired from the project.
Either two or all three of the above are necessarily established at the beginning of every project to prevent scope creep and to prevent the final design becoming bloated with features that are not useful.
– Concept research: involves researching on topics related to the compartmentalized pieces of the problem. Helps make informed design decisions and understand limitations.
– Market analysis: informs me of what products and services competitors provide, their pros and cons, user’s feedback, likes and gripes with those products. Helps avoid re-inventing the wheel and helps learn from mistakes they committed.
I personally follow the principle of “form follows function”, owing to which my designs will have a healthy balance of practicality, usability, manufacturability and aesthetics. I understand that it is important for the product to look good for the user to actually be attracted to it in the first place. So, in all my projects, I try to maintain a balance between *not sacrificing experience for appearance* and the *product’s aesthetics*. I do not design solutions where the end user experience is sacrificed for the sake of a more aesthetic appeal.
After all, as Steve Jobs said,
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
Test and iterate:
This is carried out where possible with actual intended users to design the most optimum solution.