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One of my favorite design books is Designing for Emotion by Aaron Walter from the A Book Apart series. I have read it twice since 2012 when I bought the book, and every word of it is still relevant in today’s world. So perfectly named, the book has guided me more times than not when approaching a design problem. Design for emotion (people). And let decision making be driven by what the user needs.

My goal for every project I take on is to put a check mark next to each one of levels in the user’s hierarchy of needs pyramid.

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs (altered for digital applications). Success can only be declared when all four levels have been achieved for our users. And even then, we can always improve.

Graphic source: Designing for Emotion by Aaron Walter.

My process

This is rather condensed. I don’t want to bore you.

Learn everything possible about the users and have clear goals defined. The end result of the Learn phase is to come away with defined user personas that represent who actually uses the application.

Laying the groundwork for design and development. Document the functionality, information architecture, and wireframe all unique screens. To accomplish this, a combination of journey storyboards, interaction flow charts, some form of rapid prototyping, and a road map are needed.

Start with the most basic elements like color and fonts and work up to full screens including interaction animations and gestures to every modal and notification.

My role in this phase is to help QA, and consult whenever needed to make sure the development of the product goes as smooth as possible.

And I think this goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway. TEST, TEST, and TEST SOME MORE.