#1 Goal Setting

Determine and achieve consensus on high level goals for project


Stakeholder consensus on outcomes


Agreement amongst stakeholders on:

  • Key metrics of success
  • Objective / Problems to solve
  • High level project scope
  • High level technical constraints
  • Timeframe / Priority

#2 User, Competitive, & Contextual Research

Acquire knowledge needed to inform later stages of design

Success Criteria

  1. Consensus on user goals and domain conceptual model
  2. Consensus on user’s emotional needs
  3. Consensus on ideal process & artifacts
  4. Identification of Primary Scenarios & Pain Points
  5. Identification of lower importance Scenarios &  Pain Points
  6. Identification of main assumptions
  7. Actionable design implications from research findings


Information on the following:


  • User Context
  • Task / Job Context
  • Learning Context
  • Emotional Context
  • Time Context
  • Business Context
  • Sales & Marketing Context
  • Technical Context


  • Competitive UIs / Products

Abstract, Existing, & Ideal Processes

  • Abstract process & artifacts
  • Existing process & artifacts
  • Ideal process & artifacts
  • Experience / Customer Journey Map


  • Conceptual model of domain

#3 User Need & Market Validation

Validate market’s willingness to purchase / use a new product that addresses the primary scenarios defined above

Success Criteria

  1. Confidence in user’s willingness to use or purchase the new product or enhancement
  2. Understanding of most valued user benefits
  3. Understanding of minimum viable user-experience





  • Identification of user benefits to be provided by the new feature/product
  • Validation of target audience’s interest in using or purchasing new feature/product
  • Identification of most desired user benefits and blockers to purchase or use the new feature/product
  • Validation of competitive advantage and perception of new feature/product in competitive landscape
  • Validation of product’s ability to satisfy functional and emotional needs

#4 High-Level Concepting

Determine and validate 2-3 directions for the UI design

Success Criteria

  1. Stakeholder consensus on 1 direction
  2. Ensure no technical blockers
  3. Ideally, external user feedback validating the chosen direction 


  • Brainstorm & explore breadth of solutions
  • Narrow down to 2-3 directions for design
  • Basic wireframes/workflows that illustrate each direction
  • Rationale and tradeoffs for each proposal
  • 1 strongly recommended direction from design team

#5 Concept Refinement & Testing

Apply detailed UX thought process to chosen concept and validate with user feedback

Success Criteria

  1. Confidence that UX concerns have been addressed
  2. Confidence in design’s ability to perform in real world scenarios
  3. Ideally, external user feedback validating the direction


Account for UX Concerns in the following areas:


  • Simplification & Elimination
  • Cognitive, Memory, & Physical Optimizations for:
    • Perception
    • Interpretation
    • Action


  • Default Behaviors
  • Intent Facilitation & Cues
  • Commensurate Effort / Incremental Investment
  • Deep vs Broad Decision Trees
  • Complementary / Sequential Tasks
  • Flow
  • Efficiency (reduction in cognitive cycles)
  • Action / Feedback Loops (towards goal)


  • Hierarchy
  • Gestalt Grouping / Control Mapping
  • Implied vs Explicit Relationships
  • Scanning Patterns
  • Affordance & Visual Cues
  • Cognitive Load (magic #7)
  • Data Visualization
  • Time / Blocking Interactions
  • Physical Limitations (e.g. color blindness)

Memory & Education

  • Mental Models / Metaphor
  • Discoverability
  • Information Storage & Retrieval (chunking, constraints)
  • Copy / Language

Expert vs Novice Use Cases

  • First Use (discoverability)
  • Repeated Use (accelerators)
  • Perpetual Intermediates


  • Touchpoint Highs (celebrate)
  • Touchpoint Lows (reduce friction)
  • Branding / Personality


  • Error Prevention (e.g. forcing functions)
  • Error Recovery

Real-World Constraints & Variables

  • Scalability
  • Actual Data & Content

#6 Detailed Wireframes & Requirements

Finalize & document detailed screens, workflows, edge cases, and requirements

Success Criteria

  1. Finalized documentation of all workflows, screens, states, and edge cases
  2. Finalized business requirements
  3. Consistency with existing standards
  4. Adherence to usability best practices
  5. Ideally, external user feedback validating the chosen direction


Wireframes illustrating:

  • All workflows
  • All states
  • Layout & Information Architecture
  • Finalized Copy
  • Error handling
  • Annotations where needed to describe business logic

Detailed definition of System Image:

  • Model
  • Actions
  • States
  • Feedback
  • Constraints

#7 Visual Design

Apply final visual styling to wireframes and hand off requirements to development

Success Criteria

Consensus with dev team that all assets supplied


  • All wireframes with visual treatment applied according to style guide and widget library
  • New styles or visual assets created as needed
  • Appropriate visual treatments to reinforce information hierarchy and layout
  • Front-end development requirements (redlines)

#8 Implementation Support

Ensure successful implementation of design through collaboration with development team

Success Criteria

Implemented design matches requirements


  • Modify designs if new requirements / constraints are discovered during development
  • Provide any missing design assets
  • Feedback from Design team regarding implementation fidelity