Design Research & Deliverables
All User Experience based projects must begin with research. An initial analysis will be performed to determine the correct methods specific to a project. This process starts with both stakeholder as well as user interviews to establish business goals as well as customer needs. Once a project plan is established, deliverables to inform later design may include Personas, establishing Design Principles, User Journey Mapping, Competitive Analysis, Concept Mapping, Heuristic Evaluation and more.
Innovation through Ideation
Coming up with innovative ideas are difficult, but the best methods for success are a well informed room of varying talents. It's often said "Design is too important to be left only to Designers" and a diverse group, through sketching and ideation techniques can lead to creative and noble solutions to even the hardest design problems. While there are so many digital tools on the market, I've found the best to be simply Sharpies and Post-It Notes. General Sketches evolve into Storyboards which communicate across a company to share a vision for a new product, piece of advertising or anything else. It's this commonly created shared vision that aligns a group into execution.
Wireframe to Pixel Perfect
The design people typically see is only the tip of a large iceberg. The research and wireframes take up the bulk of a designer's time with only the final product presented to the user. Those final visuals should be informed by sketches and wireframes to work out the design problem.