Defining objectives through strategic planning and real talk
I approach every project with open discussions with stakeholders about the bigger picture that frames the project. Understanding the context around an organization's functions and services, strengths and weaknesses, and goals for the future is key for understanding how the project "ladders up" to the bigger business needs. These discussions allow for alignment through definition of priorities, objectives, and metrics for success that will guide the future project, and inform the team's brief.
Using research to make critical decisions
Before approaching any design, I consider the best ways to uncover learnings that can inform the coming work using quantitative data gleaned from sources like analytics reporting, heatmapping, A/B testing, and other SEO performance data. Combining those insights with qualitative research including comprehensive site audits and mapping, stakeholder interviews, and competitive peer benchmarking contrasts the stark data with considered expertise. Ultimately, I utilize the synthesized findings to:
• identify foundational priorities and problems to solve
• Identify opportunities for improvement and differentiation from peers
• inform structural frameworks, user pathways and navigational decisions
• define baseline metrics to measure future iterations against
Starting at ground level with foundational UX planning and mapping
Before creating any designs, I first seek to confirm my ideas through visualization frameworks that allow for collaborative review and certification. Mapping out a structural siteflow, I cross-reference content needs, scope inclusions, and plan for features that support the project objectives. Key pages, navigational decisions, and user pathways are all defined for review by the full team, including engineers who can spot technical implications prior to design. On client projects, I use this phase as a key point for gaining alignment on the foundational plan, and work directly with the client to refine documentation and gain approval for next steps.
Creating a shared visualization through wireframes and prototyping
For me, wireframe design is one of the periods of heaviest lifting, where the project is brought to life in simplified grayscale layouts that define the visual and functional elements of the design. Working from the roadmap established by the siteflow, I faithfully translate decisions into screen design, but also take the opportunity to explore undefined areas, making adjustments and improvements that are more easily found in layout. I use the wireframe phase to flesh out interactive features, repeating modules and components, and build content patterns, navigating the hierarchical connections throughout the project. Reviewing wireframes collaboratively with the internal team and client, allows for cross-team certification and a check on UX soundness and implied functionality.
Pitch-perfect, responsive user interface design
Through the visual design, or UI design phase of each project I work to create designs that feel modern and custom to the client or project, but that most critically support the experience design and objectives of the site. In my book, bleeding edge trends take a back seat to tried-and-true visual patterns that support legibility, usability, and accessibility. With responsive design at the forefront of my mind, I define how designs scale on smaller devices, or design custom experiences optimized for mobile use. Collaboration with developers on interactions, transitions, and other experiences is critical, and I provide usable, workable interaction examples or prototypes to share visions for more complicated experiences.
Monitoring results and key performance metrics for opportunities
For me, design doesn't stop after handing off files to a development teammate; the work shifts to continuous refinement through testing and QA, and continues after launch. Following up on performance by monitoring key results is critical for verifying the soundness of design decisions—and if there's evidence of underperformance, an opportunity to understand what could be modified, tweaked, or approached differently next time in a similar circumstance.