Our design process relies on user testing early and often to ensure we are going in the right direction. Designers often start with a simple sketch, a quick brain dump to get started on an idea.
We’ll share sketches with stakeholders to establish a shared understanding of the idea but we will quickly move on to wireframes. At this stage we would not usually show a sketches users since they are abstract, messy and the feedback would be as open to interpretation as the sketch itself.
Wireframes are a blueprint for the application and allow us to experiment with layout quickly. We usually use Omnigraffle for this but are constantly looking for new and improved methods. We will try to incorporate realistic content and data so that we can be sure what we’re doing is feasible. At this point we will show the wireframes to users or test a clickable wireframe prototype and then iterate on the wireframes until they’re right.
Once we are confident in our layout we will start work on the visual design in Adobe Photoshop or Sketch. This is where we will incorporate established brand guidelines to create a look and feel for the product. We are usually given brand guidelines intended for marketing materials rather than digital products so we will interpret them to better suit the needs of a web application and ensure that usability is not affected by aesthetic.
When the visual design is established we will start working with developers to take some pages into production before testing again and likely making further improvements.
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