All decisions regarding target devices, core product feature requirements are made at this phase after carrying out sufficient research on competitor products' experience, experience of similar & familiar products, etc. Also frame broad usability metrics based on which the application shall be evaluated and improved upon.
Draw up a generic journey for the customer and map the various stages of interaction with the product/ service. List the user actions, expected reactions, tasks, pain points, feature requirements, metrics to monitor, and SWOT for each of the stage.
Decide on the core conceptual model to base the interaction upon. The determining criteria shall be a balance of clarity, familiarity, consistency, error proofing, usability etc.
Construct the navigability from one section of the workflow in the application to the other based on the information architecture structured and interaction model chosen. Iterate on the global, local, supplementary navigation patterns that cater to a usable error-free experience.
Connect different screens drawn during the wireframing stage to create a logical workflow. Decide on interactions that facilitate the workflow and the various errors, states of each screen that shall be possible during each stage of the workflow.
USER INTERFACE DESIGN
Build incrementally from simple elements to complex features using style guide as the compass. Clarity to trump consistency in decision making for visual design.
On the basis of user personas crafted, write as many possible and realistic user stories as possible, particularly the ones that deal with application's core value proposition strategy. In essence, the entire experience will be designed around these stories.
Based on the requirements that are identified during the customer journey map, create the scope from business, functional, usability, visual and experience perspectives.
Based on the different features and user stories, sections of the product shall be formed by grouping (by the use of card sorting methods) and a structure shall be formed that shall behave like the logical skeleton of the application.
Draw on printed device/ screen templates or using wireframing/ drawing software, and create screen skeletons with the level of fidelity that serves the purpose with the target audience. Validate static screens on basis of clarity, consistency, usability etc.
Use either POP, Marvel or Invision to create an interactive prototype to get the first feel of the application to be developed. Present to a user to get feedback on the abstract concept of the solution.
Set the style quite early, and frame the rules to be followed during UI design. Stay away from fancy styles for they are short lived. Typography to be clear and reflect brand and personality for the application.
DEVELOP & DEPLOY
Use of an appropriate programming language, framework, database model, deploy a fully functional application. Bring in developers quite early in the process to get technological constraints and prepare the mindset for expectations and limitations.
The usability of the application is to be measured based on the metrics determined during the UX Scope phase. The method, users, metrics are all adaptable according to the time and resources at hand.
Monitor performance metrics which are predecided during the scope phase. Weed out noise from data. Validate hypothesis framed. Come to conclusions that can be backed up with data.
Most crucial part is, nothing will go as planned. All measurements will be away from any expectations. So analyze results systematically and improve incrementally towards desired results.
Many steps in this process can be skipped due to time and resource constraints. But the assumptions made and lack of variants & iterations in those steps shall result in developing a sub-optimal solution without any doubt. Good luck!
The process makes the professional. Period.
It always starts with an idea. I am personally biased towards an idea that sprouts in my head that instills a strong negative feeling, like anger, disappointment, frustration etc. For true problems result in negative experiences and emotions.
Immediately do a quick concept sketch exercise in about 20 minutes. Draw the first solution and details about it, that comes to my mind. Why I do so -
This step is when the business sense of the entire process kicks in. It starts with a research phase about target customers, competitors, similar products, SWOT analysis for self and competition, budgeting, timelines required etc. Core value proposition and target audience are two main decisions made in this phase.
For a designer nothing is worse than solving something that is not an actual problem. Collect as many details about the problem, the people related to it, the history of the problem and its existing solutions, if any. And most importantly, research the necessity of the solving the problem.
It is absolutely essential to deeply understand the people whom we have decided to solve the problem for. Once the target user has been decided, collect as much relevant information from as diverse sources as possible to understand the entanglement of their lives with the problem we are about to solve. Craft a very detailed representative user personas that enable to develop a 'deep empathy' with the person and the problem.