The Pre-Design Process

As a UX Designer I have a lot of tools that I can use to aid me in my journey to solving a problem, crafting solid experiences and improving usability. The actions I take before I even “push a pixel” are super crucial. All processes can be loose, dynamic and on a per case basis.

Designing Blind

I’m living proof of designing blind. Some of the worst experiences in my career have been by products of designing without passion, empathy and a full understanding of the world I’m immersed in. If your team fully trusts your blind solutions the people you’re really designing for are in for a bad experience, or a good experience that was unintentional and not meant to be iterated upon and measured. Lets say the whole team is questioning your blind solutions now you have to “fight” on the grounds of not seeing the vision as a whole and you may lose important design battles which still impact the users again. With understanding another persons vision’s and reasonings comes becoming holistically empathetic and mission driven.

Empathy

Being empathetic drives me to stop designing for myself and to start designing for the person’s life I am trying to make easier. People have a lot to deal with already so lets try to design lasting experiences which aren’t against them. Separating my emotions and attachment (preferences) from the design before I even think about a button color or font size keeps me grounded throughout the entire design process.

ROI

There is a huge return for taking the time to do the hard stuff before diving into *insert favorite design tool here*. Whether we need to convince ourselves internally or get a buy in from stakeholders there’s value. I’ve found that a big enemy of a solid process is time. The time to do things right, the time to truly understand, research and dig deep. I understand that time is “money” and that we need to get to market but what If what we’ve left unpolished isn’t even good enough for the end user? None the less is this project really aligning with their mission or are we totally off track? I’d argue that an extra day of research can potentially save Designers, Developers, QA, PM, Management and most importantly the end user a solid headache or two.

Owning Your Process

Processes in my opinion should be a way but not the end of the road. One designer or teams process might not work best for the next and If It does currently work it may not stand the test of time. Starting somewhere tried and true is a start but don’t be afraid to experiment, cut the fluff, streamline, adopt and try again.

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