You have a lot of tools in your toolkit, so it can be hard to figure out what to use and when. Should you do research first? Should you do some sketches? Maybe you should try building it, first? You need to be willing to explore to find out what you want to do first.
Loosely*, we can define the design process as so:
– Set goals
– Define requirements
– Determine framework
(*Note the word “loosely”. Every company/team is different, but there’s a general linearity that we all allude to when talking about design.)
Guidelines can be great when you have a system in place, where research has been done extensively and there’s institutional knowledge to pull from that informs your problem-solving. But what happens when you don’t have that?
Inherently, design is not linear, even though we often talk about it as such. Design is a process and sometimes processes are messy and don’t follow rules to a “t”, in order to get the best results.
I’d like to propose something radical: You don’t have to use every single tool in your designer toolkit. You can use what’s needed for the project. Sometimes, you really do need to put it out in the world so you can gather information and make changes as you go.
Getting personal: When I co-created Good for PoC with friends Catt Small and Jacky Alciné, we followed a path of “messy” design process. First, we created a survey to gather information about people and their positive experiences at companies. Once we had a enough submissions, we built a site. We make a quick and rough high-fidelity design, built it, and published it. We needed to get it out into the world. When it was time to embark on a redesign, we decided to use a more detailed design process: wireframes, branding strategy. We used tools in our toolkit as we needed them, rather than trying to force the situation to bend to the will of the tool.
The process of creation
You’ve got your idea, you’ve done some pre-work, now it’s time to get into what you’ve been waiting for–creation.
I’m going to walk you through my process for re-designing my “Guide to Allyship“ project. Even when iterating on an existing project, it’s reasonable, and even encouraged, to take another look at the questions you initially asked yourself when creating a community project in the first place.
With the “Guide to Allyship” project, I knew there was another direction I wanted to take it. That direction would make it seem like an entirely new project. This meant that I was, in essence, starting from scratch.
Here are my answers to the questions shared earlier:
- Why do you want to create this?
- I want to create this as a tool to replace my “Guide to Allyship”. I’ve realized that the ways in which we use the word “ally” can often apply to mean someone who wants to provide support in theory, but not in practice. The word leaves room for ambiguity and unshared responsibility.
- What impact do you hope this will have?
- I want people to focus on two simple behaviors:
- Being better than they were
- Becoming active collaborators in their own education and the world around them
- Who is this for?
- Anyone who wants to become a better collaborators to communities that are traditionally marginalized.
- When do you want to put this out into the world?
- I’d like to launch this in January 2019.
- Where will this live?
- I’ll be hosting it on GitHub.
- How will this improve your community?
- This will improve my community by creating a resource that anyone can contribute to about becoming a better person because we can all work to become better, regardless of our intersections or lack thereof.
- Is this something you’re passionate about? (As in, can you see yourself maintaining this project or resource in years to come?)
- Definitely, but I’ll likely seek people who want to contribute/open source it so I don’t have to maintain it all on my won.
Now that I’ve answered these questions, I feel like I have a clear path in terms of how I’m going to design. I’m going to hop into Adobe XD to give you an idea of how I like to design.