Every design agency in the world has their own process when it comes to designing and producing great products. At MiniCorp, we are no different to everyone else. We have spent years refining our process and the best way for us to consistently ship stellar products for our clients.
In this blog post, we will detail each step in our design process. This is The MiniCorp Workshop 🤘
The Kickoff Meeting
To build a truly great product, you must first understand the product and domain in which it will exist. We treat every kickoff meeting as a chance for our clients to provide us with their vision of the product, the problems they are trying to solve, their business goals, their assumptions of the market etc.
9 times out of 10, the MiniCorp crew are about to embark into unknown waters, an industry that we aren't fully versed in or may have little knowledge about. The kickoff is also a chance for the client to impart their knowledge of the industry onto us.
This understanding is crucial if we are going to ship an amazing product at the end of this process.
Defining the MVP
In this phase, the onus is on the design team here at MiniCorp to take the clients idea and define what the core value proposition of the MVP or first version of the product should be. We pare back functionality, leaving only the real core of the product. The reason for this strip back, is to so that we can validate the assumption this this core value is needed/wanted within the current market, while keeping time and cost down for ourselves and the client.
Interaction Design and User Flows
A user should be able to accomplish all tasks within a product without any roadblocks. The experience should be seamless and task should be performed with ease. To achieve this, in the early stages of product design, we create task lists and workflows that the user will go through whilst they are using the product.
If a product is to succeed, it must first function as expected. By defining these tasks and flows early on, it gives us a great foundation to build out from.
Requirements and User Stories
What task should the user be able to do here? What do they require to be able to complete this task?
These are important questions to ask in the early stages product design. So, once we break the product down and look at it screen by screen, we step into the users' shoes and analyse them from their point of view. "As a user, I should be able to do X. To do this, I need Y".
Bringing a user centred approach to our design process has really combatted our own biases when it comes to product design.
Here at MiniCorp, we are big fans of pen and paper. When it comes to creating wireframes we prefer to get our hands dirty and draw them out old school style! Not because we are trying to be hip or are stuck in the dark ages, but because in our experience, showing clients digital wireframes can often bring needless confusion to someone who is not versed on design and the practices that come with the trade.
The purpose of wireframes is to nail down layouts and arrangement of elements that will allow the user to successfully accomplish the desired tasks set out earlier in the design process.
By utilising pen, paper and markers (and sometimes even the odd pencil) and drawing the wireframes, it really solidifies the idea that this is simply the blueprint and not the building itself.
High Fidelity Designs
Using the layouts and arrangements we defined in the wireframes, we leave the pens and paper behind and jump into Sketch to create high fidelity screens for the product. We take everything we have learned and defined throughout the design process, couple this with the clients brand guidelines and what we get is beautifully polished designs that will become the first version of the product.
Ah, the nervy part of the process 🙈 Presenting your work to the client. For me, this is, simultaneously, the most exciting and most terrifying part of the process. This is their baby that they have entrusted you with and you want to do right by them.
We have found that presenting the screens alone resulted in a lack of clarity on how it all gels together. To prevent this, we now do our presentations in the form of an InVision prototype. The interactive nature of the prototype allows us to showcase the user flows and tasks in all their glory, as well as presenting the screens themselves.
So there it is folks, our entire design process (at the moment). I'm sure we will continue to try new things and see if we can improve upon the process. But for now, we have nailed down a design workshop that works for both us AND, more importantly, our clients.