Patrick's Process...

...for Digital Product Design
and Development

Depending on what's needed, my process can be both fluid and structured.

I create time and space for exploration, discovery, and new ideas.

I also know when it's time for direct, focused, action toward specific, measurable goals to keep us on track and on time.

From a rough concept or a detailed plan, here’s how I usher your project into a fully functional, highly impactful digital presence.

The Structured Version | The Free-Form Version

The Structured Version

  • 1. Goal Setting

    We'll start with your goals

    • We'll get as specific as we can but keep it simple too. Examples:
      • Create a new set of icons for our print materials
      • I want to launch my website and sell the first 1,000 items
      • Create an eye catching, thought provoking beautiful book cover
      • Help my students and learners have an easier time learning what I am teaching
      • I want to make some really cool t-shirts

    We'll set time frames and milestones for completing your project.

    Once we have a goal and a plan, and I've read your materials and content, I turn my attention to the user interface and experience design — how your clients and readers will interact with your content and offerings.

  • 2. Storyboarding and Design Sketches

    Storyboarding is putting together a high-level summary of how a website, app, or other experiential product will function at its most basic level.

    When it comes time to sketch out individual pages or screens, a useful low-tech solution for rapid prototyping and testing is plain old pencil and paper. Well, multiple sheets of paper, but you get the idea.

    In a matter of minutes, a concept can be sketched out. 

    Then the basic flow of interactivity can begin to take visual form.

    I like to start by drawing and blocking-out functional design elements. For websites and apps, that means the navigation and menus, rough logo placement, identifying interactive elements, call to action buttons, information boxes, and more.

    Once the essentials are in place, we can have a conversation about what works, what's needed, and what's got to go. We do this from the perspective of what do you want to be communicating and offering as well as what does your end client, customer, or audience need.

    If you're a physical learner, physically cutting out the design elements you've drawn on paper allows them to be re-arranged easily. Moving things around on a table, we can mimic the digital experience and try on different ways of organizing the elements.

    Once a design outline is set, it's ready for digital wireframing, mock-ups, and testing.

    Note: As of 2024, unless requested by a client, I often now simply start working directly on a website and model interface options for clients in near real-time or with A-B options. 

  • 3. Wireframing, Mock-Ups, and Initial Testing

    Wireframing is putting together a digital version of the basics of the design. The benefit of wireframing is how it offers opportunity to adjust the design before investing significant time in developing a usable product.

    The wireframing phase is a great opportunity to obtain feedback. We can bring in outside folks to test the design and provide feedback.

    The bonus of wireframing is that we can create many production-ready visual elements, shortening development or build-time.

    Layouts and design elements can be exported, ready for inclusion in the final digital product.

    Often, the design elements generated during this phase can be using in other applications, like for print materials or t-shirts.

    Color palettes, fonts, and graphical assets are all defined as part of the outcome of the wireframing phase. Collecting these resources allows us to create a digital library of design elements for use in the project. This library can quickly be repurposed for social media.

    Next up, is build-out planning.

  • 4. Build-Out Planning

    Just like it sounds, in this phase—build-out planning—I document and plan your project’s implementation.

    I create a high-level development outline along with detailed feature definitions. From that pool of information, I development milestones and time-frames along with who's expected to do what.

  • 5. Build-Out, Testing, and Refinement

    Wireframe and build plan in hand, I translate your design into a functional product.

    Development progresses until we reach a stable version that contains all the features we’ve identified as critical or essential. Once we reach a stable version of the product, we can once again bring in folks to do some testing and provide feedback.

    From there, we refine the product and prepare it for launch.

  • 6. Launch

    We launch your project and celebrate!

The Free-Form Version

I also work well with folks who think and create non-linearly. So if you're more of a free-spirit style creator, know that I will meet you out in the creative field. I will support you by doing my best to weave how I do my digital and creative magic with what supports your vision and creativity the most. I'm open to feedback and a willing collaborative partner and team player.