Design Process

Goal

The goal of this design process is to increase Mattermost popularity by improving overall product quality, through a consistent design process that ensures we are designing the right features at the highest quality level possible.

Principles

  1. Every feature should have a convincing reason for why it should be built
  2. Every design should start with a story
  3. Make time for exploration - it’s okay to explore a design that doesn’t work and throw it away, as long as we learn from it

Process

  1. Define the “Why”

    • Research customer/user requirements
    • Write the user stories (potentially for different personas) based on the requirements
    • Write the goal statement
    • Justify why the feature should be built
      • Link back to customer and user data / feedback
      • Link back to company objectives
      • Explain why it is important and the expected impact
    • Before continuing with design work, queue a discussion with Product Managers to review the feature proposal and evaluate whether the feature should be added to the roadmap
    • Questions this stage should address:
      • Who is this for? What do we know about them?
      • What are we trying to build?
      • Why are we building it?
      • Should we build this, or should we not?
  2. Brainstorm

    • Research a variety of existing solutions
    • Brainstorm different design concepts
      • Consider pair brainstorm
      • Do not go into depth on any one design, the goal is to identify various approaches to evaluate later
    • Questions this stage should address:
      • What are the design options for the given scenarios?
  3. Evaluate options

    • Identify the most promising design concepts

      • Wireframe/develop concepts as needed
    • List pros/cons for each option

    • Evaluate each option based on:

      • How well each design addresses user stories
      • Principles for this plan
      • Mattermost design principles
    • Have pair or group discussions as needed

      • Invite developers into the discussion early
      • Set the context for meetings, so people understand this is exploratory design
    • Questions this stage should address:

      • Is this design concept the right approach to the problem?
      • How well does this design work for the given scenarios?
      • What are the constraints we need to consider?
      • How does this design compare to existing solutions?
  4. Develop prototype

    • Summarize context for the design (preferably in Google Slides), including:
      • Goal/“Why”
      • User Stories
      • Success Metrics
        • Define how the success of the feature will be measured
      • Designs Considered
        • Link back to the various designs considered, and the evaluation
      • Out of Scope
        • List things that are purposefully left out, to be addressed at another time
    • Work on prototype/mockups for the selected design
      • Consider pair design
      • Use mockups (preferably in slideshow or prototyping software), with text that supports the design
      • Include flow of screens, so transitions are clear
      • Make sure to think about:
        • Mobile apps (mobile view and tablet view)
        • Notifications (desktop, email, and push)
        • Both single and multiple team cases
        • Potential performance issues
    • Add Questions
      • List out any questions about the design that still need to be answered
    • Questions this stage should address:
      • How is the information structured? What is important to see, and when?
      • What is the layout like?
      • What does the text say?
      • What does the UI look like?
  5. Review, test, and iterate

    • Pair review with someone
    • Share with team
      • Post draft with @channel in Spec Review channel, asking to review and add comments
      • Set the context for what stage the design is at, and what they should be reviewing
    • Share with interested customers and users
    • Test the prototype/mockups
      • If possible, find someone to test the design on
      • Give tasks based on the already defined user stories
      • Observe and have them think aloud
    • Iterate based on feedback
    • Questions this stage should answer:

      • Are there any potential issues with the design?
  6. Final review

    • Identify people who should sign off on the design before implementation (include UX Design, PM, Dev, and Test)
    • Hold a meeting to review the design
      • Set the context that this is a final review, and people should look for any potential issues
      • Ask people to review the design and add comments/questions beforehand
      • Define example areas that should be covered (different people may focus on different things):
        • How well does the design address the listed scenarios?
        • Are there any technical concerns?
        • Potential usability issues?
        • Is the product text clear?
        • Does the design follow UX guidelines?
        • Is it consistent with the rest of the product?
        • How could this design be used in the future?
        • Are all corner cases addressed? Check for:
          • Mobile apps (mobile view and tablet view)
          • Notifications (desktop, email, and push)
          • Both single and multiple team cases
          • Potential performance issues
    • Update design based on feedback until everyone signs off
    • Questions this stage should answer:
      • Is this design ready to be implemented?
  7. Break into tickets

    • Dev breaks the spec into tickets, and reviews with PM so everyone is on the same page about the plan