As a consultant my work isn't available to be shown publicly. I've written up a summary of my design approaches I use and added anonymous examples of common deliverables I create during a project.
I can present case studies and specific design materials in person.
I believe in design with purpose, a holistic and strategic approach that embeds the creative process into the product and development process. I use processes to create experiences that satisfy users’ needs, create an emotional connection, and drive business goals. Strategic design is grounded in data and inspired by real people: end users, sales staff, customer support, etc. I like to conduct research holistically so we understand people who use an organization's products as well as the internal staff who use or fulfill services offered by an organization.
Each project and desired outcome requires a unique approach, but broadly speaking there are paradigms that model the way a design teams engages with the work.
Human information processing (HIP) paradigm
Design thinking paradigm
I'm comfortable with choosing and running projects or stages of a project in any of these paradigms. The most common methodologies used are lean UX in an agile environment (part HIP and part engineering paradigm) and transformational design (mostly design thinking paradigm). Most experience and interaction designers use a similar process, but each client, audience type, industry, and level of acceptable risk will affect which phases have additional emphasis in terms of time and effort.
Analysis of business goals, domain/industry, direct and indirect competitors
User research focused on insights and current state definition to fuel future steps and to inform documentation such as personas, process models, user journey maps, service blueprints, and research decks.
Synthesis of research and analysis is often done collaboratively in workshops with the full team and when possible stakeholders and even users
Concepting and definition are the first attempts at visualize the future states of the product or service I'm designing. I find making app maps, sitemaps along with some rapid sketching and prototyping to really helpful to find missing requirements.
Validating our concepts with prototypes are a key stage in the design process. Validation research informs us if we've chosen the right concept and information models.
Design delivery begins once product and design concepts have been validate. We can start creating documentation for developers and business analysts in the form of wireframes. Wireframes also inform the user interface or visual designer of what content and pages will need to be designed.
Usability Research is conducted on prototypes made from the wireframes to learn if users understand the product or service in terms of usage and value proposition.
Design Thinking is a collaborative and user-centered approach to uncovering new problems, and opportunities in order to innovate or transform an organization's service or product. This is an approach I've used at GrubHub/Seamless to design new mobile frameworks and for the OrderHub queuing system for restaurants. I've also used design thinking approaches for defining and designing an enterprise hardware and service monitoring system for Motorola Solutions and an admission/advisor tool for DeVry.
I utilize this approach commonly for the following reasons:
The organization is looking to transform their offerings and needs help defining new opportunities
The organization is looking to expand with new a product or service in a new area or they are looking to expand the product/service to attract new users, but they don't have understand their potential users and don't have a product/service strategy
If reducing risk is major driving factor
If having a minimal product a launch won't work for the organization
Design Thinking Process Diagram
This is a high level model of the my variation of the design thinking process which means it doesn't cover all the deliverables, phases, or iteration cycles that would be documented in a project and strategy plan.
Lean UX is a popular approach to quickly enter a market in order to test market fit and get real world, holistic feedback from users. I've used lean methods on projects for GrubHub, Google Fiber, Double Good, and DeVry. Lean UX works best when the value of a product is well defined and validated. It's also a good approach if testing in the marketplace is the best way to get data you can use to further define the vision. Often in the design industry this approach is chosen solely for its speed. The can lead to launching a new feature or application that isn't viable or worst yet was designed in a way that won't lead to new insights.
Avoids these pitfalls
Not designing for testing. Lean UX is all about learning from ideas as quickly as possible.
Lack of product vision and focus for the release
Choosing the wrong business and interaction model
Not understanding the user base and their needs and challenges
I tend to recommend that MVPs (minimal viable product) have at least two milestones that must be reach in prior to a full release. The first is to design a minimal viable prototype as soon as possible in order to get user feedback and insights and to visualize the array of requirements and potential tradeoffs to assist with internal alignment. If the prototype is successful then the next stage should be to launch the first version of the product (or service) with a focused audience as a closed-beta. This will give the team time to learn, adjust, and prepare for scaling upwards.
Types & Examples
Experience Strategy Plan
Plans can take the form of a written document describing a project's approach, timeline, and resources or in the form of a roadmap. It's crucial that a design team present a plan with their recommendations on research timing, design scope, and key milestones.
Research Data Modeling
There are many ways to model the user data discovered during research. The example above is a task model which is a great way to model decision making. Often I create user journey maps, personas, sequence models, and/or a presentation to make research digestible, actionable, and shareable.
Scenario & Storyboards
Telling stories are key to getting buy-in and understanding how a proposed concept may work. By creating storyboards based on possible scenarios the design team is able to quickly ensure alignment on the product vision while still exploring potential experience design principles.
The IA phase helps us visualizing the features, interactions, content and their relationships quickly. I commonly recommend creating sitemaps, app maps, user flows, and service blueprints.
Prototypes are one of the key artifacts designers make to get user feedback, test an idea, or explore a concept. We often do conceptual prototypes before wireframes to ensure concept viability and prototypes after wireframes to ensure usability.
Wireframes are the documentation on how an interface should work and respond to a user. Sometimes we use prototypes in the place of wireframes and other times wireframes are a more efficient deliverable for the UI designers and developers.