How I work.

Developing a strategy

Let's make a plan

First, I lay down the foundation for the project: This means speaking to relevant stakeholders, getting in user feedback and analyzing it, developing personas, defining design principles, working on a sitemap, if necessary even developing a service design blueprint. With all these information at hand, I can start to plan the project, define milestones and key deliveries as well as the allocation of necessary resources.
Service Design Blueprint
Service Design Blueprint for 1&1

Team work

Close collaboration

I always try to work closely with all stakeholders involved - designers, developers, project managers as well as the client. Especially when working on complex digital products, I learned that it's key to involve the engineering team early on and to work closely with them. This also means documenting my work in a detailed, technical-driven form in e.g. Confluence or to design a prototype for frontend handoff.

Start The project right

Design Sprints

A great way to start a new project and to define its overall direction is a Design Sprint. As a nice bonus, it brings the key stakeholder together.

It's a 5 day workshop that is based on Design Thinking methods originally developed by Jake Knapp at Google Ventures.
You start on Monday with a vague vision of what you want to achieve - a hypothesis you want to elaborate on - and on Friday you test a prototype with real users to get feedback. All within a week. This requires close collaboration but the result is most definitely worth it.
Service Design Blueprint
Post Its wall during a Design Sprint

From analog to digital

Pen & Paper first

All my projects start in a very old fashioned way: in my notebook. Quickly scribbling first thoughts and ideas as well as writing down everything I think is relevant just feels natural with pen and paper. This also allows me to quickly explore new ideas and to iterate based on them in no time. For some a white paper is scary - I love it.

Efficient workflows are key

Close communication and collaboration

Most projects start in Keynote because it allows me to really quickly share an idea and to structure my thoughts I want to present to the client. For sitemaps and blueprints I choose between Whimsical and LucidCharts, because they are fast and it’s great for collaboration with their sharing features. Only then I jump into the wireframing part of the project - with my tool of choice being Sketch, for sure.
Being a huge tech and efficiency nerd I use a lot of plugins to help me organize my files. The biggest influence on my workflow in the past two years has definitely been due to Abstract, a version control app that works in repositories just like e.g. Github but for designers. I quickly fell in love with shared libraries, which allow me to create a wireframe library once and than use it for all my projects with only slight modifications. A huge time saver!

Let me try

Visualize a vision

During all phases of a project I’m a big fan of prototypes. From very early low-fidelity clickdummies to micro-interactions and visual-heavy high-fidelity prototypes - turning static images into almost real products is a huge benefit and a very important part of the design process. It helps everyone imagine the final product, it helps communicate important aspects to the client (and to the devs), it is the foundation of any user test and is overall just a really helpful tool to use. Depending on the task I use everything from Keynote, to inVision and inVision studio to Flinto.

Finally

The result

Some project go through a phase two, some have a fix end. I tend to stay in the loop until the very end, doing QA, sometimes even content creation and working in the CMS. I always want to make sure, the project comes to live exactly the way I wanted to.