Iterative Design Process
One of the main things I’m most focused on is the design process. I feel that an informed client is a happier client. While it may look more complex than just diving in to the design, this process helps to weed out issues that might have come up by simply starting the design – Ultimately saving more time than fixing problems later.
The Process Overview
- I first meet with the client to assess their needs, define the user/audience, collect any marketing materials that may need to be considered in the current design project and gather information on where and how to start sketching designs.
- Then I create sketches (paper and pencil wire frames) of several different design concepts. These are scanned as a PDF and submitted to the client for review and feedback.
- After the client review, depending on feedback, either I create new sketches that incorporate client suggestions and repeat step no. 2 or, if one design was approved, I create a low-fidelity (one without bells, whistles, images or much color) digital design and submit as a PDF to the client for review and feedback.
- After receiving the client feedback on the low-fidelity design, I create a color chart and/or a mood board (typically a list of words and emotions that the client and designer want to incorporate in the final design) to find the colors that work best for this design. This step is sometimes made easier if the design is simply an addition to current marketing materials that are being used.
- From the low-fidelity design and incorporating any valuable suggestions from the layout, I create a high-fidelity design, pulling from the color chart, mood board and incorporating images and copy (typically the final content if already provided) along with detailed notes if anything moves, where buttons might go, etc. The design is then submitted to the client as a PDF.
- Once the design is signed-off on the project moves on to the final stage. For a website that means cutting up images, coding each page and adding content. For print design it means laying out the rest of the project, outlining fonts and creating color separations (depending on print process) for press. For an animation it means creating and compiling all of the assets in Flash, animating and coding the final product.
- Then the project goes in to first review, otherwise known as “beta-testing”. Depending on how involved the client wants to be on this part of the process, this may happen in the background to work out any bugs that may arise, such as browser-compatibility, printing errors, tweaking animations, etc.
- The last step is final testing, in which the client is fully involved in making sure the project is complete. However, by this point, the changes are often small and typically only includes content tweaks.