Advantages of my method:
- Customer gets features/concepts that have a very high chance of actually working and converting well (i.e. make money)
- Saves money implementing things that have to be scrapped after user testing or a/b testing
- Plug and play: Lean UX, agile
- Quick turnover
Step 1: Ideation
Either the client already has an idea of a new feature or I will develop ideas for the client. Usually we end up with a list of variations of how a new feature could work.
Step 2: Build mockups
Of all the ideas that look promising I create mockups that mimic websites to the degree necessary to be able to do user testing on them. I usually use a mix of Balsamiq, Sketch, manipulated screenshots and InVision to make that happen. If screens were already developed (which is not necessary), I can also use those to build upon or work with designers to create new ones. Axure and UXPin are also options. To do animations I use animated gifs.
Stpe 3: User testing
I will run several user testing sessions on the mockups to figure out if any of them stands a chance in the live environment or even better in a/b testing. Most of them won’t. Which means if you would’ve implemented them without testing, you would’ve lost money.
Step 4: Final design and handover
I work with designers to make sure the final design matches all requirements identified in the previous steps. The screens resulting at this stage are a lot of the time enough for the developers to work with. With more complex features I will use the final screens and put them once again in InVision to create an emulation of the feature as close as possible to the final end result. This can include animated gifs to elaborate on animations, for example.