Design Strategy - Hero

Design Strategy

Begin with the goal and then set the strategy

Begin with the goal and then set the design strategy

Initially, I thought design began with research until gaining a team of designers to manage. This experience helped me quickly realize strategy needs to be considered first and foremost. Analysis and design can become a void without direction, which is why it is best first to understand the project requirements and objectives.

Data collection with secondary sources

Gartner, Forrester Research, and International Data Corporation are three of many research companies who gather data through quantitative surveys across many industries and products. Before conducting research, it is best to investigate if a relevant report exists already. Many times, research companies have the resources to perform much more thorough studies than small companies or teams are capable of handling. Through them, industry-specific demographic data helps define primary archetype users without the need to recreate studies previously conducted on a grand scale.

Stakeholder interviews

We sometimes get caught up in the user experience so much that we forget about the customer. Consultants know too well that we also have an obligation to the stakeholders who hired us. Like your users, stakeholders do care about the final product, even if what is essential to them is not relevant to the users. Regardless, it is still imperative we take time to hear from them to learn their needs and pain surrounding the initiative. Usually, this will be in the form of feature requirements, but with stakeholder interviews, we can dig deeper to understand better their motivations, goals, and pain.

Requirements and constraints

By learning the feature requirements and product restrictions, we shine a light on areas of which we are unsure. By giving this step its due diligence, we can avoid wasting time on designs that stakeholders would not approve and developers could not produce. Many times the stakeholder has a solid idea in mind regarding what they would like delivered. While there is always room to iterate, we should ensure not to overstep in assuming what features we can include. Beyond the stakeholder, our developer counterparts are most important in helping us determine the limitations of the language or software of our product.

Competitive evaluation

Whether you are conducting an expert review or a competitive usability test, the knowledge gained in a competitive evaluation helps us quickly learn what works well and not so well on competitor products. An expert review, like a heuristic evaluation, is conducted by an expert designer to discover positive or negative user interface design patterns to reflect (or not) in our designs. To perform a competitive usability test, assign users redundant tasks to complete within each competitor product. This method helps us to understand better the entire task flow beyond the user interface.

Design Process

To guide the path forward

Design Process

To guide the path forward