The align step begins with the reality that the ‘right answer’ is unknowable up-front. The team applies agile methods to avoid big, upfront designs, and instead focus on creating a hypothesis about the feature/product's expected business result, and then we implement and test that hypothesis incrementally.
This is the part of project where the design team gets to learn all about the product, the potential users and processes in order to position and sell the product. Based on these initial learnings, the design team is able to make recommendations about how to build and test the product for those particular users. When you know what you’re dealing with and what you want to make, then you can enact a solid strategy and roadmap to execute.
Once, through user research, after I have identified the user needs and have generated ideas to meet those needs, I develop prototypes. Then I test the prototypes to see whether they meet the needs in the best possible way. Then I take what has been learned from testing, synthesize the results for stakeholders, and amend the design. Following that, I update the prototype and begin the process all over again until I've reached the best possible product for release.
When moving from the design phase to the development phase, great care is taken in order to optimize assets, leverage and update component libraries, and provide detailed redlines and specification documents in order to deliver on the product's vision. In some instances, I provide the frontend development in order to facilitate in the handoff.
You need to know how users are using your product out in the wild — and that’s where analytics come in. Numbers provided by an analytics tool (clicks, navigation time, bounce rates, search queries, etc.) can be used to understand how people are actually using your product. Metrics can also uncover unexpected behaviors that are not explicit in user tests. Product team must continually track product performance to see if it meets customer satisfaction and if any improvements can be made.
To design successful products, teams need to adopt a process of continual improvement. Iterative design follows the idea that design should be done in repeated cycles. It’s a process of constantly refining and improving the product based on both qualitative and quantitative feedback data from your users. This is a great opportunity for designers to see the bigger picture, improve their work based on user feedback, and make the product inherently more valuable to users.