Delving into the Process
How Do I Get There from Here?
Discovery & Strategy
I like to encourage curiosity and tackle things with a plan. At the beginning, it's great to get the team to analyze, observe, and figure out where the company sits in the grand scheme of things, what the goals of the project are, how'll we'll get there, and how we'll measure our success when we do (all informed by data, of course).
Competitor Analysis, Analytics Review, Stakeholder Interviews, Contextual Inquiry, Surveys, User Interviews, Personas, etc.
Testing & Design
And then testing, and then more design... this is where the creative problem-solving comes in. You can't just make pretty things and hope they work, after all. You have to pay attention to how people use things, how they'd LIKE to use things, and what they want to get done. Then, encourage the team to be flexible - help them grow and adapt with fresh new ideas that simplify the process.
Wire Frames, Mockups, User Testing, Card Sorting, Experience Maps, Pen and Paper, Whiteboard, Post-it Notes, Heuristic Review, Remote Usability Tests, etc.
I adore great back end developers - I'm married to one, in fact. As a result, I'm very into communicating well, early, and often with the ladies and gents who build the the complex functionality into a thoughtful, well-researched design (and everyone else, too). Communication can be the difference between an awesome product and a terrible one.
A Sense of Humor, Information Architecture, Prototyping, Emailing, Chatting Face to Face, Body Language, Facial Cues, Negotiating Skills, Empathy, Coaching, Feedback, etc.
I actually like the phrase "God is in the details." It speaks to that moment when you pick up a thoughtfully crafted piece of user experience design and feel like it was made just for you, personally. The details are what made Apple stand out so thoroughly from its competitors with the release of the first iPod, and should never be undervalued.
User Testing, Remote Usability Tests, Beta Testing, Releasing Versions, etc.
Did You Think We Were Done?
I have no interest in the saying "If you love something, set it free." I'm more a fan of "let it out into the wide world, sure, but then watch it carefully and make sure it's succeeding in its aims, and also provide support and guidance whenever needed" (I may have made that second one up).Suffice it to say, I'm an unapologetic helicopter parent when it comes to product design. Don't you judge me.