Design Thinking Methods

Whether I am acting as a Visual Creative Director, a UX Consultant, or a UI Designer, you will always see me leveraging some of these methods below during or after design workshops and/or brainstorms. Enjoy!

1. Conducting Competitor Analysis

For my shopper marketing role, I’ve used similar graphs above to line item out what similar content outlets are providing both from digital tactics and/or key .com features. Because of the limitations, shopper marketing has it’s important to know where and how we can either tap in or create from scratch content/features/tools we need in order to solve our business problems.

2. Mental Model Charts 

Taking advantage of already established habits and hooked thinking, will give us the power to leverage existing designs that our target user may already be interacting with and/or expecting to see. Based on user interviews and observation, we can make notes around behaviors, pain points, motivations, and needs. Once those are set we can then begin to throw in high-level features, content and tool suggestions to solve design problems.

3. Customer Journey Maps

My customer journey maps come in all shapes and sizes and of course different styles. If your brain works linear then go linear, if you like complexity and adding legends then go the more traditional way. I personally love to draw these out as we brainstorm or workshop out a problem.

4. Shopper Activation Maps

As a shopper marketing UX consultant, clients love to know where the budgets are being spent and on what tactics plus where. i.e. Social Media, Email, Ecom etc. This is where my recently released (2015) Shopper Marketing Activation Maps come to play. I typically use these during creative brainstorming so as new IDEAS or communication is being planned we know exactly where and how we can tailor messaging per the tactic. Read up on it all here.

5. Taxonomy and Task Anaylsis

Every product has micro experiences and it’s our job as designers to ensure each micro-task is seamless for our users even if it is as simple as “where does this link take me?”. I love studying existing experiences and how they work, why they do what they do, what happens next, and what we could do better. From auditing to prototyping new solutions it all helps in the long run.

6. Storyboarding Design Concepts 

One way to entertain the room is by acting things out either with paper prototypes or with engaging illustrations that show the problem at a personal level and also in a real like scenario.

7. Wireframing the Design Concepts 

When everyone finally says “I get it” then it’s time to show how it comes to life through high-fidelity wireframes. I usually always suggest high-fidelity wireframes with REAL copy with as much technical detail as possible. During working session we will conduct low-fidelity wires but as soon as we all align on user flows, page description diagrams, and information hierarchy we go and go fast.

8. Applying Visual Interface Design and Instituting a System

When visual and interface design is ready to be applied we think, create, and organize our designs in component libraries. Thanks to Brad Frost’s modeling, we stay on top of our UI inventory using six spaces: Foundations, Atoms, Molecules, Organisms, Templates and Pages. All rounds of designs are designed in Sketch and prototyped in InVision App because well, we just love those two programs. 🙂

Thanks for visiting! Make sure you check out my Design Talk section too!