My early years as a producer for agencies such as Sunbather, Razorfish, and Deepend taught me the importance of process as applied to digital projects. In practice, elements within this process can run concurrently - but all elements should be included somewhere in the schedule of work.
What follows is the process I would normally apply to projects on which I offer end-to-end services, but I'm comfortable working as an IA, UX designer, or technical consultant as part of a larger team.
01. Scoping Phase
The first phase is all about discovery. In order to get a feel for the project, and highlight any 'speed bumps' along the way, I would conduct interviews witht the client and potential users, as well as researching their market and competitors.
Typical questions would include:
- What are the business objectives?
- Who are the target audience?
- What are their wants and needs?
- What other businesses are operating in the same space
- How will the project be phased?
- Who will be responsible for managing the content and services
- What is their workflow?
- What technologies will be appropriate?
- Competitor Review document, outlining how others have dealt with similar challenges
- Profiles for target users
- Project proposal outlining suggested timeframe, resources, phasing, and approach
- Costs and Schedule
02. UX Design Phase
Once the initial scoping work has been done, and agreement reached with the client on the best way to approach the project, I would normally work up a series of IA documents. These documents are created very rapidly and iterated through in a 'real-time' process with the client, making it a very collaborative experience.
- Module Catalogue
- Mental maps
- Process flows
- Site map
- Lo-res wireframes
- Hi-res wireframes
- Paper or digital prototypes
03. Visual Design Phase
Clarity. Visual simplicity. Ease of use. My approach to design is extremely pragmatic, and does not tend to be influenced by fashion. I use typography, photography, illustration and css to create compelling websites that download fast and are accessible to all.
Design services can be as broad or as narrow as required - in the past I have created logos, print materials (e.g. letterheads, business cards, print advertising, brochures) to support online businesses in tandem with designing their websites. In today's brand-conscious society end-to-end design that is consistent in its brand message is an essential component of an organisations communications.
- Identity design: Logo and colour palettes (vector files, eps)
- Concept Design - quick visual prototypes (jpg) encompassing key templates (e.g. home, content page)
- Design implementation - layered Photoshop, Flash or Illustrator files which can be optimised to provide all required graphic elements and layout for website build
- Banner design - creation of banner ads for use on the main site or 3rd party sites, to standard formats.
04. Prototyping/Implementation Phase
If appropriate I would then implement the design deliverables using the technology agreed upon in the scoping phase. This could involve developing a bespoke CMS and database driven back end, reskinning an existing site structure, or using 3rd party tools such as WordPress or Drupal.
- Clickable Prototype
- Fully functional site
05. Testing/Site Launch
I have developed a series of quantitative and qualitative user-testing documents which I use in concert with Silverback and Google Analytics to provide detailed user feedback measured against specific business goals.
- Testing Guidelines
- Demographic questionnaire
- Site testing questionnaire
- User feedback metrics document
- Annotated Silverback videos
If you'd like to use my services on your project, contact zelda at badzelda dot com.