design process


Understanding the design processes applied by UX professionals is the rage of the day. Therefore, I thought it would be fitting to share my philosophy on design processes. As one with over 20 years of experience, I have learned two key things that I should explain before addressing the topic and listing the processes aligned with my skill set:

  1. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all design process and
  2. The process varies based on the project or organizational need or preference.

General Approach

Considering that the goal of proper UX operation is to marry user needs, business needs, and align in conjunction with various types of constraints, after learning the rules of engagement in place for an organization or project and adapting accordingly, I always follow a semblance of the 5 Planes design process made famous by Jesse James Garrett in the early 2000s. My approach always includes the following steps:

  1. Seek to identify user needs and business objectives.
  2. Obtain and confirm requirements and any known functional specifications (e.g., through interviewing stakholders and subject matter experts or conducting design sprints).
  3. Engage in efforts to learn more about user needs, processes, and pain points through research (e.g., ethnographic studies, contextual inquiry, interviews, surveys, etc.).
  4. Ideate and brainstorm about information architecture and interaction design principles.
  5. Begin implementing IA and interaction design elements through initial construction of the interface.
  6. Facilitate data-driven efforts by validating designs via research.
  7. Iterate based on data obtained through research.
  8. Dialogue with developers and quality assurance personnel during various stages of the design process, when possible and as applicable.

I have found this approach to be extremely useful and successful, no matter the SDLC employed by an organization. Variances associated with specific processes are explained below.


For agile environments, I strive to identify and commit to tasks during each sprint and report to the team daily and during the retro.


For Lean UX, I work to design and iterate quickly, seeking quick and actionable feedback on work to help the team achieve the associated goals.

Design Thinking

I value the ability to gather stakeholders together for an extended period of time and view design thinking as a way to quickly secure information and help drive design efforts efficiently.


I work to offset the longer timelines by optimizing efficiencies that eliminate rework and sharpen decision making via data.

Source: Jesse James Garrett — The 5 Planes Design Process

SKILLS & acumen


  • Heuristic analysis
  • Remote usability testing
  • Design thinking facilitation
  • Interviewing
  • Contextual analysis
  • Ethnography
  • Card sorting
  • Survey design and management
  • A/B testing
  • Multivariate testing
  • First-click testing
  • Competitive analysis
  • Formative & summative
  • Qualitative & quantitative
  • Data synthesis & analysis

Information Architecture

  • Taxonomies
  • Nomenclature
  • Information scent analysis
  • Task flows
  • Optimizing findability


  • Wireframing
  • Prototyping
  • Personas
  • Experience maps
  • Journey maps
  • SWOT analysis
  • POV decks 

Form Factors

  • Desktop
  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • Interactive TV
  • Hardware
  • Ergonomics


  • Waterfall
  • Agile
  • Lean UX
  • Confluence
  • JIRA
  • VSTS



  • Interaction design
  • Interface design
  • Instructional design
  • Desktop publishing
  • Photography
  • Videography
  • Social media management