Design Process

Understand Methods Define Methods Explore Methods Decide Methods Deliver Methods Listen Methods


  1. Establish a user-centered process that starts with user data, creates design artifacts that address real and not imaginary user needs, and then tests those artifacts with real users to make sure we’re solving the right problems with the best solution.
  2. Encourage innovation by exploring multiple avenues for the same problem.
  3. Create standards to leverage collective expertise through collaboration, establish efficiencies, set expectations and a shared language amongst the teams.



In the understand phase, the main goal is to gather as much information as possible about the problem space and to leverage all previous knowledge to uncover new insights. Uncover and understand the problem.


In the define phase, the primary task is to synthesize all the knowledge gained from the previous phase to shape the strategic approaches necessary to solve the problem by sharing that knowledge. Describe to others the problem and what is needed to solve it.


In the explore phase, the goal is to generate divergent solutions through collaboration and conceptual design. Create multiple potential solutions to the problem.


In the decide phase, the divergent approaches are evaluated with users, data, and internally to validate the solutions. Focus on the best solution.


In the deliver phase, details are added to the solution to establish clear specifications on what is required to create a successful solution. Specify the solution details.


In the listen phase, the final product is monitored to verify if the solution solves the problem, to find opportunity for quick iterations, and to find opportunity for the future. Verify how well the solution solves the problem for everyone.

Design Process Diagram

Baseline Process

Kickoff the project and get all the required information to create the work plan.

  1. Collaborate on writing the opportunity statement, the high-level problems, and hypotheses that make up the opportunity space.
  2. Fill out the project intake form, including goal, audience, success criteria, and desired completion date. Create a recommended project plan based on the timeline.

Understand the problem on a deeper level.

  1. Learn about your user
  2. Learn about the context of the problem
  3. Learn about the business and uncover what are the product requirements

Define the user’s story and how we might approach solving it.

  1. Synthesize and transfer the findings from Understand by visualizing them into easily understood documents and artifacts
  2. Start thinking about how we might solve this problem by framing the problem from the user’s perspective
  3. Define what success will look like to the user and business, leverage BIs within this step

Explore the problem space through creative solutioning.

  1. Gather inspiration and begin to think broadly about the problem space
  2. Explore many high ideas across the spectrum of design through low fidelity design output
  3. Begin to shape the best ideas into the more tangible versions, such as prototypes.

Decide on the best approach to move forward with now.

  1. Review the few design approaches internally
  2. Validate the approaches through user research

Deliver and handoff the detailed design.

  1. Create specifications for the other team members to understand
  2. Continue to collaborate with the design builders to make sure the design is realized

Listen to the user response and find more opportunities for improvement.

  1. Benchmark the final product and set expectations of performance
  2. Continue to track and monitor the performance to uncover new problems
  3. Begin to think about how improvements can be made and how to appropriately iterate

References: Process Questions