The early stages of any project involved research of the client and the client’s users. Additional research can be done of competitors, interfaces, and patterns.

Questions to ask can include:

Who are my users, and what issues are they facing?
How do users currently solve their problems and what tools or processes could improve this eperience?
What are my client’s business goals?

User research also involves creating user personas, which allow the UXer to see through the eyes of a realistic character, at every stage of the design process.

During this stage, my team and I brainstorm and discuss solutions for products and services. This process can determine, for example, whether a product will be web-based or mobile-based, as well as how the service will be marketed. This is a great time to be very open minded, and to think big and small, often starting very high-level.

Designers and developers should work together to ensure that the project manager’s (and UX designers’) goals are feasible. this will allow the team to work iteratively if it is appropriate.

The process of sketch > discuss > resketch > wireframe > prototype > mockup > prototype allows the team to encounter and tackle problems as early as possible, wasting as little time as possible. Though it may seem that there are many steps in this process, a dedicated and focused team can get a quick idea of what will work and what won’t work as they go through these stages (and test users at each stage).

At every point, testing can happen, but pre-launch is the most important time. The type of testing will depend on the project. However, any testing is better than no testing. The results can drive last changes before the launch. The launch is an essential time to gather feedback. After the launch, user personas and other background should be updated continuously.