"Before we start building a service we need to build up a picture of what the context for that service is."

— Gov.uk Service Design Manual

Step 1

Research

Main Activities

Client Research, Sectorial Research, Competition Research, Benchmarking, User Research, Legacy interface analysis/testing.

Key Questions

What are the main project goals? Is the available budget enough to meet those goals & objectives? If not, what else can we propose? What are the needs of the users? What services are currently set up to meet those needs? How are they performing?

“(…) my favourite tool as a designer is the question. I ask lots of questions. Asking questions and listening carefully to the answer is my main value as a designer.”

— Clark Wimberly

Step 2

Prototype

Main Activities

Think about content strategy, define information architecture, display content blocks visually (these are called wireframes) for client sign-off, produce a mood board to guide the Design phase.

Key Questions

What are the key communication hooks? What is the information architecture? What are the objectives for each screen? Prioritise calls-to-action, define overall content hierarchy.

“Website design, and especially responsive design, should be built from the content out.”

— Justin Avery, Content Strategy

Step 3

Write

Main Activities

Write the content for the project before the Design phase begins. Get client approval.

Key Questions

How do we engage users? How can we tell the client’s story in an effective way? Define tone of voice. Keep content true to brand personality. Make sure content is on par with what was outlined in the prototype.

“Users will always choose the easiest option, so if we want a competitive advantage we must focus on simplicity.”

— Paul Boag

Step 4

Design

Main Activities

Design the layouts based on the outputs of the 3 previous phases. Export visuals for client feedback.

Key Questions

Is the design in line with the approved goals, mood-boards & wireframes? Are we following brand guidelines? How do we portray content? How good is usability? Are calls to action visible?

"The place to start the implementation is to list exactly what the user will do to achieve his or her goals and how the system will respond to each user action. "

— Scott Hurff

Step 5

Develop

Main Activities

Transform design into code, Implement interaction, Publish prototype, Input content, test, go live, promote and monitor.

Key Questions

What technology should we use for the project? How will the site work on mobile devices? Should we use a native app or a web-based solution? Does the interface work across different internet browsers?

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