I'm often asked what my process is, and after years of working on hundreds of projects, I've decided there are two answers to this question:
Answer 1) Get Stuff Done
I’ve been brought in on projects at every stage — at the beginning, which can be ambiguous or highly structured, toward the end, which usually involves asset generation for production, and every point in between. Following my mantra “The deadline is the bottom line” I’m able to jump in at any stage of a project and complete whatever needs to be done. I’ve built my career on meeting client/employer deadlines, whatever it takes.
Answer 2) Customer-Centered Creative Process
While it’s rare that I get to be involved in every step of a creative project, this is the general process I recommend when given the opportunity, resources, and budget:
1. Establish Understanding
Establish a universal understanding of the problem/project. Get all stakeholders (PMs, design, engineering, etc) to answer questions about what needs to be done, for whom, why, timing, resources available, budget, etc.
2. Analyze Competition
Review competitive products/offerings. Explore related industries/markets. Leverage established solutions and avoid reinventing the wheel.
Brainstorm initial solutions. Determine if additional questions need to be answered about proposed concepts.
4. Collect Feedback
Gather feedback on proposed solutions from appropriate audience: actual customers where possible, and/or stakeholders.
5. Determine Course of Action
Review initial feedback with stakeholders, evaluate viability of implementation, agree on a course of action.
6. Generate Mockups
Generate design mockups, wireframes, prototypes or similar proposed solutions for review.
7. Perform Customer Research/Testing
Gather feedback on proposed solutions from actual customers/users.
8. Update & Iterate
Modify proposed solutions as needed, incorporating research and feedback. Test again where possible.
9. Generate Assets
Generate UI assets, collaborate with engineering on implementation, making concessions where needed to achieve deadlines.
10. Observe Solution in Action
Conduct in-field observation to evaluate performance of delivered solution.