Design Process

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The design process has to start as soon as the project scope has been reviewed and approved by the client (but no earlier than that).

Starting earlier will only result in unnecessary changes, adding extra work (and frustration) for the designers. Starting too long after approval will impact the project timeline.

The design process is composed of four orderly steps:

  1. Research
  2. User Journey/UX Flow
  3. Wireframing
  4. Final UI

Several reviews will be conducted along. It is how we ensure the highest level of quality and client satisfaction. Read about the design review process here.

UX/UI Flow

The green arrows show forward progress (everything is approved). The orange arrows show backward progress (changes are required).

Each and every step must be completed in the order that the arrows indicate.

Organizing the Flow

To properly organize the flow and efficiently follow it, we use Trello. For each project, a Trello board will be created and named UX/UI - [PRODUCT NAME].

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are three additional steps in the board: “Icebox”, “Backlog”, and “Define Scope”.

These are mostly used for design work that arises when the product development is already in motion.

  • Icebox: Where we save/take note of ideas that need either approval or refinement, but that would be forgotten if not saved anywhere.
  • Backlog: Where we place cards that need to be taken care of next. Designers will usually complete those tasks in an orderly fashion, from top to bottom.
  • Define Scope: Where designers can drop a card that is unclear and needs more explaining before they can actually get started.

There is a Trello board that serves as the template for the UX/UI flow.

Post UX/UI Scope Reviews

Even though this is not technically part of the design process, it depends on it.

Once the UX flow is approved, it is important to do a quick review of the user stories. The goal is to make sure that nothing was forgotten. If the approved flow differs from what was assumed during the initial scoping phase, stories need to be updated.

Another, more thorough review of the stories must be conducted after the final UI was accepted. Designers tend to add new features in the UI; we need to make sure that those features are properly scoped.

Not reviewing the project scope after the UI is accepted will inevitably lead to delays in the development and frictions with the client (if not more).

Additional Design

When starting out a new project, the design part is very straightforward (it is about following the project brief).

However, once a project is underway, there are often one-off design needs that have to be tracked.

Sometimes, a technical issue arises that requires design changes. Other times, a blank state is required. Maybe the client is requesting a feature change.

In all those cases, the process is the same: a new card must be added to the project’s Trello board (in the “Backlog” column), and the designers take it from there.

It is important to use the Trello board and not to ask the designers directly for a quick update. It makes it so much easier to keep track of what’s being done. It also helps in the billing process (for invoicing the client).