This is a brief overview of the current process I use on new projects. Not every project has the time or budget to incorporate each phase, but this gives a solid framework to work from.
Stakeholder interviews, SWOT analysis, Requirements gathering
We want to make sure everyone is on the same page, that we have a clear idea of what their competitors are doing, what metrics we should use to set a baseline for success, and the priority of this project as it relates to other initiatives within the organization.
Design principles, Vision artifacts, Early storyboarding, Mood boards, Project roadmaps
Preliminary ideation to establish the overall project vision. Not representative of the final product, but helps kickstart ideas that can be built upon later. A roadmap lays the foundation for the steps to come and keeps the project on track.
Field research, Surveys, Personas, Mental models, Storyboarding, Process mapping, Journey mapping
To make a product that users will love, it's imperative to get out there and find out who they are. Learning what their day to day is like and the things that make them tick helps ensure you're making a product for your users and not yourself. An oft skipped stage within many organizations, but highly important.
Information architecture, Site map, Wireframes, Visual mockups, Detailed specifications, Style tiles, Style guide, Pattern library, Prototyping
Using data collected from earlier phases, a tangible vision begins to take shape from sketching to visual mockups as well as organizing the content and pathing the site so this organization makes sense. Prototypes are developed as a low-risk way to test the ideas without investing too heavily in a fully fledged concept.
Usability testing, A/B testing, Heatmapping, Analytics, Metric tracking
Production begins on the final product. Thorough user testing and validation is performed regularly, and adjustments are made based off of findings from these. After the product has launched, schedule regular follow-ups to make sure that predefined goals are being met, and refine to improve where necessary.