My Design Process

Angga Putra Sundowo
3 min readApr 21, 2017

Edit: This was written in 2017. After years of working on design projects, turns out that the “Lean UX” process is still relevant. I’ve noticed many design teams returning to this approach to support business with a leaner and faster iteration.

I believe every designer has their own process for delivering design solutions, and there are numerous references available on this topic. I’m writing this post to share my own design process as a self-reminder and reference for others. Having your own playbook, I think, is a good practice, at least for me.

The big picture

Stage 0: Kickoff

Start with the goals first, and understand the problem, the context, and the needs. I wanted to make sure I’m solving the right problems first, generating solutions much easier once we able to understand the actual problem.

To make the process more fun and collaborative, I sometimes use storyboards to visualize and understand the context, user’s touch points, etc. Storyboarding helps me generate scenarios that our users might encounter.

Sketchy Storyboard
Storyboard doodle

Stage 1: Research

Personally I use Erika Hall’s book, Just Enough Research from 2013 as my main reference for research. I usually begin with competitive and user research. From there, we can bring our findings to brainstorming sessions with the rest of the team (developers, business, designers, etc.).

My long-term goal is to map the user’s behavior (user flow, user journey, experience map, personas, etc.). The documentation should be shareable and readable for people outside the design team. Documentation is the key.

Stage 2: Prototype

This stage is quite straightforward. The output will be a series of mockup designs to simulate scenarios for user testing.


Stage 3: Test

User testing helps us gather feedback faster. Fail fast and learn fast. Rather than making changes at the development stage, we change and improve the flow based on the test results. I think it’s a win-win solution for everyone.

Stage 4: Develop

I prefer working together with the developers and assisting them on a daily basis, not just handing off the mockup design to them. Collaborating with other roles is very insightful; sometimes, they have ideas/feedback that we as designers never thought about before.

The entire process should not be a waterfall process; it’s a non-linear process. Actually, it’s a never-ending process, so be ready for any changes and be more flexible. It’s a work of design, not a work of art.