As designers, we’re asked what our design process is. In my experience, the only answer is “it depends.”
For a recent job application, I answered a handful of questions on design and process. Below are my answers to what is my ‘design process’.
Please provide details around your experience in conducting user research, including providing strategic UX input to product backlog.
I’ve lead many projects from idea through shipped feature, and research has been a large part of that. I’ve defined target audiences to do research with, owned the recruitment process, written/iterated scripts and synthesized the feedback to help inform the proper features/opportunities.
I’ve done many Jobs-to-be-Done interview approaches, as well as myriad usability tests through platforms like Maze to help validate concepts before building anything. I’ve groomed through support tickets and worked with Customer Success many times to identify patterns and find opportunities that way as well.
I also like to explore organic growth opportunities from a data view.
I’ve often set up Customer Councils to help reduce the time to feedback and to create continuous learning opportunities. Plus, I’ve synthesized all the qualitative and quantitative data into bite-sized nuggets for various teams to get a sense of the opportunities as well.
Please provide details around your experience with designing user flows and wireframes and utilizing design system patterns.
I typically like to map out flows users go through (for example a potential client looking to find a therapist, what external triggers/motivations start their process through finalizing a booking and getting to their first session) in Figma/Miro. I often create quick lo-fi mocks to articulate my views of this, as well as hi-fo prototypes to help share my vision but also let others poke holes where I might have gaps. If there is an existing design system to pull from, then I utilize those components (that make sense) or create new ones to help clarify the process for a given user.
Please provide details around your experience contributing to and improving upon design system patterns.
At my current role, there was no design system so I created one from scratch (starting with colors and typography). I’ve worked at myriad companies where they have existed but have been lacking in both visual polish as well usability (i.e. if it looks good but is not easily usable for a user, then it’s a failure from a design POV). I typically approach design systems with the mindset that they should handle 80-90% of existing use-cases, but allow for experimentation when new features need them.
Another few measures of success I utilize are how effective are they at speeding up engineering workflows, and lastly how similar are they to comparable tools/products that users are accustomed to (i.e. we shouldn’t make people learn new things without a good reason too).
Please provide details around your experience creating and testing UX prototypes.
I’ve used InVision (RIP) way back when, but Figma is the standard now for creating prototypes. I’ve created myriad lo-fi wireframe prototypes and hi-fi fully designed ones for whatever the need is. If I am trying to articulate a concept, lo-fi is generally good enough, but I’ve found some types of personalities need to see hi-fi with real data to be able to grasp the concept.
I work hand-in-hand with engineers often to help align around nuanced functionality / interactivity and prototyping is a lifesaver for this. I do also sometimes build HTML/CSS/JS prototypes when I find that Figma can’t quite do what I need it to do, and that’s very handy for engineers as well.
Please provide details around your experience integrating UX processes into in-house product development methodologies.
I’d say this all depends on the type of business and what stage the company is at, as well as what the type of feature we are working on is. However, generally I like to look across various lenses for UX to help inform the best delivered feature:
- Competitive landscape
- Existing research
- Customer feedback (support tickets, feature requests, interviews)
- Existing data (what’s working/not working, what do we want to make impact on)
- Design sprints, if time/resource permits
- Internal knowledge (working cross-functionally)
- Ad-hoc research (asking on LinkedIn, social networks)
- Prototype testing
- A/B testing
- User story writing
- Beta testing (having actual customers help drive feedback before going to a full release)
- Post-launch review and iteration
There are likely myriad other things I could mention, but I like to go as wide as I can and get as full of a picture as I can when starting at a company. However, there are also plenty of times when I’ve used my gut intuition and experience for projects that have also been very successful -- with all things design: it really just depends on the situation.
Please provide details around your experience conducting user testing of design prototypes and synthesizing user feedback.
Figma is my go to, and I’ve used Usertesting.com and a few other platforms for creating and running the tests, but I prefer Maze.co now for ease-of-use and affordability. I typically define the type of test to run, as well as set them up and write the questions -- before going live I like to share with the rest of the team (not just design but all of product) to help poke holes and clarify questions before asking people to start.
After a test is run, I synthesize and share the results and if changes are warranted, then that’s the natural next step. I often also recruit the people for the tests, or at least define who we want to test with.
Design is all about the context of the problem/opportunity in front of you. Sometimes you have more data, time, resources, etc. Other times, you use your best judgement and move forward. Real day-to-day work is never ideal, and you pull from your toolkit as best you can.