Tools of the Trade
The digital tools that I use most in my work are OS X, Sketch, InVision, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe InDesign.
Client Interview & Project Discovery
But before I get all fancy with the latest and greatest software, everything begins with clearly understanding the client's uniqueness, personality, and objectives. This is largely established through detailed research, including discovery interviews with key stakeholders.
A few of the questions I look to answer are:
- Who is Your Company?
Tell me about “who” your company is. What are the team and organization’s values, strengths, and goals?
- The Website: What Problem Are We Solving?
What are the issues you’re hoping to resolve, or business challenges you want to improve through this website redesign project?
- Word Association
What words do you want people to associate with your company? 5–10 thoughtfully selected words is ideal.
- Notable Brands
What brands do you consider to be “best of breed”? These examples could be in your industry, or completely outside of it. Names and a brief explanation of why they’re included would be ideal.
- Brands You Dislike
Are there any brands that you particularly dislike? These examples may also be completely outside of your industry. Names and a brief explanation of why they’re included would be ideal.
I particularly like what comes out of the questions about brands. So much is revealed by seeing the similarities and differences in the two groups (i.e., "like" and "dislike").
Among other things, the discovery interviews are used to create 2–3 personas that represent the real-world needs of an existing demographic and marketplace. Everything after this stage is designed to speak to these personas.
Concept Sketching & Wireframes
When the discovery phase has been successfully completed, the next step begins with a pencil and paper. I use computers to finalize my ideas, but rarely for idea generation. This approach lends itself to rapidly fleshing out ideas, experimenting, and vetting options quickly.
Before visual design is considered, the primitive initial UX sketches are refined and digitized. Here are a few examples of the wireframes for the Masterplans website.
Product Overview Page
Visual Design Mood Boards
Every design begins its life as an invisible idea inside someone's head. Mood boards are one tool that helps paint a picture of what my thinking looks like and allows confident buy-in from stakeholders.
Wireframes to Final Design
Click image to cycle between the wireframe and final design, or wait a few seconds for automatic transitions!
My Photoshop and Illustrator files always have clearly and consistently named layers, my CSS is clean, and all my deliverable files are logically and consistently organized.