User-centered design

My approach to design combines methods from content strategy, design thinking, lean UX, and agile development. I draw upon low-cost research methods and iterative processes to discover, decide, build, and refine, so the results achieve business objectives and meet users’ needs. I aim to keep the process rapid and flexible rather than drawn-out and linear.

Discover

Before jumping to conclusions, I ask questions about the organization and its users, partners, and competitors. I work with stakedholers to choose a mix of discovery activities that fit within the project's schedule. Here are some of the methods I've used:

  • Analogous inspiration
  • Business model mapping
  • Comparative analysis
  • Consultation with subject-matter experts
  • Content inventory
  • Desk research
  • Extremes and mainstreams
  • Heuristic analysis
  • Metrics definition
  • Role playing
  • User research

Decide

This stage is an an opportunity to synthesize ideas and validate findings with users and stakeholders. Here are some exercises that I've conducted to establish priorities and define possible solutions with teams:

  • Affinity diagramming
  • Brand/experience attributes
  • Card sorts
  • Content audits
  • Design principles
  • Elevator pitch
  • Forced ranking
  • Interface inventory
  • Mad libs
  • Mash-ups
  • Mental modeling
  • Mood boards

Build

After establishing a shared understanding of the situation and the overall approach, I help teams create minimum viable products and prototypes, so they can test them with users and iterate. This helps us learn whether a solution will succeed before we invest in it. Here are some of the activities I've conducted in the "build" stage:

  • Content modeling
  • Message architecture
  • Minimum viable products
  • Pattern library of design elements
  • Protosketching
  • Prototyping
  • Site mapping
  • Style guide (editorial and visual)
  • Wireframing
  • Writing

Refine

After launching a solution, I help teams monitor its performance. This is about creating feedback loops to identify problems and test new solutions. It may involve repeating the "discover, decide, build, refine" process—or parts of the process—to solve old and new problems in better ways.