Trust Your Design Process

by JAMIE UMAK August 7, 2022

A new project or initiative kicks off and everyone on the team is excited. As with all new journeys, there is hope in the air for what will be.

Every day, product owners, engineers, stakeholders, and designers form a team to understand the needs of businesses and their users. Many are passionate about their work and achieving results. As designers, we must collaborate with everyone to create the best solution alongside others who may not fully understand—or even doubt—the value of what we do.

For new designers, this can create a swirl of anxiety.

Early career designers come to me feeling overwhelmed when starting something new. They say to me, “Where do I start?” followed by, “What should I do next?” and “What if it doesn’t work?”

If that’s you, don’t worry. You got this!

Over the past 18 years I’ve had time to refine my process. It is only with time and years of learning and hard work that you become comfortable with the design process in a real-life professional setting, not an idealized one.

Graphic with white animated arrows at top right and bottom left corners pointing inwards to a text bubble in the center that says, “Always trust your process.” Below it is a piece of tape that says, “Designer Reminder.” Above the text bubble a yellow sticky note graphic is attached in the center with a pencil. The background is light gray with a transparent white square grid overlay.

Creating Your Design Process

The basic design process of Learn > Define > Ideate > Prototype > Test > Implement > Measure > Repeat is a solid foundation for solving problems. It’s the best starting point. After years of working through these different types of activities, experienced designers more easily pivot to where they need to go.

In real-life that could be conducting research on one part of a product while testing features and defining another business problem. If working at the service layer, there are simultaneous ecosystem conversations and considerations to be factored.

If you’re early career, take time to really learn about each step in a process. Gaining experience across all types of design tasks equip designers to make strategic decisions.

You Will Always Have Design Principles and Process

For early career designers, taking the first step in the dark can seem scary and intimidating, especially without mentors.

All things come with time.

For new and experienced designers alike, remember that no matter what you will always have fundamental principles and design processes to guide you. Take your stakeholders and team along the journey. Show everyone what’s possible through strategic design.

What is Your Design Process?

Have you tried a new approach or activity in your design process lately? I’d love to hear. Send me a tweet @jamieumak.

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