Every project begins with learning as much as possible about the task ahead. What is the problem we’re trying to solve? Who are we making the product for? Who are the competitors? Sometimes learning about a project involves a room full of product experts talking it out. Sometimes it involves sticky notes and drawing and thinking of ideas. Sometimes it involves talking to customers and potential users to figure out what is the best way forward.
Once I learn as much as is useful, I sit down and start sketching and brainstorming. I outline an initial structure to see how things connect together. I draw wireframes to work out ideas and possible features. Depending on the scope of the project, I could either spend some more time in the ideation phase and bounce ideas off other designers or I could move on to more high fidelity wireframes.
After I flesh out the wireframes, I create a prototype so I can fine tune the interactions and test it with users. I get feedback from customers and other people on my team and then make changes to the prototype. At this point, I might do one more round of wireframes and test again or start working on the visual design. After the visual design is complete, I create another prototype and get more feedback.
Every project is different. Some phases might take longer or shorter but this is roughly the process that I use to create products. I strongly believe in collaboration to come up with the best ideas, talking to customers so that I’m truly designing with the end user in mind, and testing at every level of fidelity to capture the widest range of use cases (paper prototypes included).