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My design process

My design process differs from project to project depending on the requirements and the nature of the project.

However, each process is a constant loop of identification, validation, and creation. Validation happens through

the lens of the user, the business and technology. 






I created this model at wearereasonablepeople for their design and implementation process, based on how I work there.

An example:

A project usually starts with either a request from a client/ stakeholder or recognizing a user's need or business opportunity (Identify). It has to be validated whether this problem is relevant from a user, business and technology perspective as well as from the client-side. Based on this first validation, research questions, a research plan and research materials such as interview guides or context mapping materials and schedules can be created.  Carrying out research in itself is a validation of the assumptions and research questions. Analyzing the research results leads to recognizing and identifying the user needs and potential barriers within the business to enable the ideal customer experience. To visualize these needs and barriers and bring all stakeholders on the same page often insights are mapped out with tools such as personas, customer journeys or service blueprints are created. These mapped out insights are the basis to validate again with different stakeholders as well as the design and development team and often lead to reframing the problem statement and identifying new opportunities and a design vision. Such a vision could be validated in a co-creation session with stakeholders and users. Based on that a concept is created, then validated in a usability test. And so on…

The process of identification, creation, and validation repeats through all stages of the design process.


Process Phases


My ideal process  - agile vs waterfall 

There are many approaches for the design and implementation process. From a design perspective, the process is often described based on a waterfall model approach with methods which use the double diamond shape to express converging and diverging. Phases are described to happen after each other.  From an agile development perspective, these phases are all repeating in each sprint instead of having closed phases after each other.

From my experience, a combination of both works best. For successful product development a discovery or exploration phase, initial research, and analysis phase should happen before starting to work in agile sprints to ensure the epics are based on the right user needs and business objectives to allow success. However, each sprint contains discovery, definition, creation, and implementation in small, hence divergence and convergence.

In an ideal project, it is possible to go through all phases below in a full product development. Different phases will involve colleges from different disciplines and different stakeholders. Below I will explain my approach, skills and involvement in each of these phases as a UX and Service designer. The process is explained from a digital product development perspective since I have been working in this field for the past years. But the phases can be transferred to other industries and products focused on the user. The Implementation phase will differ for physical products or spaces.


The phases are exploration, research, analysis & service orchestration, conceptualisation and implementation. When an MVP or a first release is ready it should ideally be tested in a pilot. The pilot can be used to test the MVP and carry out research. Findings of this pilot result in an analysis phase and the cycle repeats developing a refined version.


Identify and frame the problem (together with the client). Short market research and business model validation to check if there is a market and problem fit.  Create a proposal, strategy and a roadmap.


My role: Understanding the problem, interviewing stakeholders and clients, advisory role in meetings with clients, writing a proposal for an approach, creating a roadmap together with the client.


Initial Research

Prepare, plan, carry out and analyse user research such as interviews, context mapping & creative sessions, shadowing,…

I call this phase Initial research because research continues during conceptualisation in form of concept tests during the sprints in form of usability testing and in the pilot.


Methods I use and have experience with

Interviewing, observation and shadowing, context mapping, co-creation workshops, questionnaires, usability testing, sensitising booklets and diaries, focus groups, mystery shopper, literature research.


Analysis & Service Orchestration

In this phase, the results of the research are analysed and mapped out. Based on the analysis the service is orchestrated, a service proposition created and requirements are defined (User stories, design requirements,...) 


Methods I use and have experience with

Customer journey mapping, personas, service proposition, service blueprinting, writing user stories, stakeholder mapping, swim lane mapping, business model canvas. 


Based on the service proposition and the requirements from the analysis concepts are created. This is often a so-called sprint 0 in which developers are only taking part in ideation workshops, technical research and advise. Ideally, the concepts are tested with users and iterated upon before the implementation phase begins.


Methods I use and have experience with

application architecture, user flows, concept drawings, paper prototypes, concept workshops with stakeholders and team, concept testing with users. technical discussions with the development team.


Implementation in Software development is done in Sprints.

Interaction-, Visual design and Development work together on user stories defined for a sprint. 


Service designers define backlog together with PM (backlog prioritisation and user story creation) and together with team define content and user stories for the following sprints.

After each sprint, the results of the sprints are shown to the client and new features are tested with the users. the results of these test create new or refined user stories. 


My role

Creating wireframes and flows, content and design refinement with visual design, client and development, usability testing, writing user stories. Attend all sprint meetings.

Daily stand up, sprint planning, sprint demo, sprint review, scope review following sprint, define backlog.

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