Designing a digital product often involves a number of complementary design skillsets coming together. When thinking about the digital product you will be designing it is important not only to think about who will have access to your digital product, but who and what will come together on this digital platform. This involves questioning the overall role that the digital product will play - does it bring people together, does it enable better decision making, does it inspire new or different behaviors are just some of those questions. As a technology enabler, design practices are an important means to ensure digital products are useable, meaningful, reduce errors and increase the satisfaction of people who engage with them.
Some typical outputs you should expect to see at the outset of the work include Stakeholder Map, Research Insights, Personas, Journey Maps, Experience Maps, Systems Maps, & Co-design Workshops. As you move more closely to the product design you should also expect to see How Might We Questions, Ideas, Concepts, Wireframing, Prototypes, Prioritization Framework, & Current/Future State Service Blueprint. It is also important to note that different firms may name these outputs in slightly different ways. The list provided here will get you started on the conversation you will want to have with your design partner to get everyone on the same page.
A tailored set of activities that help the team and key stakeholders define project expectations and create a shared understanding of the problem space. Alignment workshops and stakeholder interviews can often occur iteratively.
Interviews with project stakeholders that help clarify the problem space and define successful outcomes. Alignment workshops and stakeholder interviews can often occur iteratively.
Also known as Archetypes or profiles
User profiles that represent the varied behavior patterns enacted by different members of a group. Personas provide a way in to understanding why a user does something at a particular moment or in relation to a particular set of issues, and how this evidences what they desire to achieve through that behavior.
To arrive at a set of key research insights, design research - involving interviews, observations, interacting with real life or imagined artefacts - will be used. Design research is intended to provide a deeper understanding of user needs, motivations, perspectives and behaviors. The patterns synthesized from these activities are presented as Research Insights. When done well, these insights will (1) involves tension; (2) be true, but not obvious; (3) strike an emotional response; (4) inspires the audience to think or feel differently.
A stakeholder map is a visual diagram of project stakeholders, their roles and their relationship to one another.
A journey map visualizes the user's journey over time and across various touchpoints.
An experience map builds on a journey map by adding a specific focus on the user's experience and emotions.
A system map visually communicates the relationship between people, services, and touch points that surround them.
Also known as Opportunity spaces
How Might We? is a positive, actionable question that frames the challenge but does not point to any one solution. It is often used as a device to prompt focus on a specific topic and generate ideas around it. The How Might We method is constructed in a way that opens the field for new ideas, admits that we do not currently know the answer, and encourages a collaborative approach to solving it.
HMW's and co-design are activities aimed at generating and prioritizing ideas, which are then developed into memorable “mental constructs” that represent new opportunities. Typically designers come up with several ideas to solve a problem and then evaluate the effectiveness of these ideas with users before turning them into more fully developed concepts.
A co-design workshop is an opportunity to bring citizens, front-line staff, and program area staff together to design together with them, rather than for them. Co-design sessions are about making things and iterating together during the design process to ensure the results meet people's needs and are usable.
Typically designers come up with several ideas to solve a problem and then evaluate the effectiveness of these ideas with users before turning them into more fully developed concepts. A concept is a form of an idea that has gone through a more detailed process of iteration and fine-tuning.
A wireframe is commonly used to lay out content and functionality of a digital solution that takes into account user needs and user journeys. They are often are used early in the development process to establish the basic structure of a digital solution before visual design and content is added.
A visual method for envisioning the components of a future experience with a solution, while also setting the context and telling a human story.
A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product or service or artefact to test a concept or process with ultimate users. Prototypes are then iterated upon and refined further with each testing and feedback cycle.
A method for ranking and evaluating ideas based on desirability, viability, feasibility, and other factors that the team identifies as critical to measuring the value of a prototype solution to its users.
A current-state operational diagram that depicts how a service operates currently, with enough detail to understand and maintain it. A future state operational diagram that depicts how a future service could operate with enough detail to build and implement it.
A framework over time outlining the different phases of work and 'incremental' releases or launches from current state to future state for a service or product to achieve successful uptake.