Michelle Zamora

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The Design Process

The Design Process is like an organized system of brain explosions. First, the design team must go through a discovery period—during which point the first brain explosions occur while collecting data, performing interviews, empathizing with the user, and gaining insight about the context(s). Next the team must define the problem: “How might we solve X?” It’s important the team is asking the RIGHT question (Hint: they’re on the right track if the discovery phase is collaborative and insightful). Third, the team creates and ideates (A less explosive brain explosion)— considering desirability, feasibility, and viability. In this phase the team begins creating storyboards and wireframes—materials that will help the client and the team understand the information architecture, UX, and UI. Finally comes testing, but this is NOT the final step. The design process is iterative and fluid. Testing is done for user feedback, to learn more—not merely to validate (Design Thinking: Luchs, Swan, Griffin; 2015). The brain explosions (research, questions, and ideations) are tested and fed back into the system, forming an enhanced brain product, and finally a polished and hopefully successful UX.

Having a Design Process is essential because it gives the designer a STRUCTURE in which to work, but allows for a great deal of exploration and fluidity. Skaaren Design Studio has the right idea— they’d hand over the final logo mark for free, that’s not what the client is paying for. The client pays for our creativity, the generation of new ideas, and our genius brain explosions (merely results of the Design Process).

Where do I fit in to this? I love the whole Design Process, but I may have a knack for asking the right questions. It’s how I discovered design to begin with—I wasn’t happy with what I was doing so I asked myself what I was curious about. And then I went out and did it. The Design Process according to Skaaren, is a lot like life in which you have to “Push yourself, be honest, and [keep exploring] until you get that rush of adrenaline that lets you know you’re on the right track.”

In reflecting on my own life and making my own discoveries about who I am and what I want to do, I’ve been directed to ask the right questions. In the case of visual design and UX, I am conditioned to gain insight and empathize with the user in order to discover the bottom line—What is it that the user really wants?

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