As a designer, I was taught the double diamond where you diverge and then converge on the best ideas. The double diamond, however, is actually only a part of the larger design process which begins with user research and ends with the product shipping. Each of these steps are vital to making sure that the final product or service is based in human-centered design.
Research is a really easy step to neglect since designers are often very excited to just start working and let's be honest--interviewing people can sometimes be difficult. There is recruitment, screening, making a discussion guide, the actual interview, and synthesizing all of that data in order to come up with insights and how might we.
But research is, as I have learned first hand, a vital component to the design process and should actually drive your design. User research will either confirm what you're doing or take you on a wild adventure you didn't even know existed until you did user research. It digs up all the little cracks you didn't see before and lets you view them under a magnifying glass so that you can shift through and pick out all of the gems.
But most importantly, user research plays an critical role in inclusive design and is an important step--especially when you are dealing with those in vulnerable groups (i.e. sexual orientation, race, gender, etc.). After all, how can you design something that reflects the authenticity of a real life situation if you are basing it off of assumptions in your head?
The definition phase helps you gather your thoughts and digest everything you have learned and best of all, it helps you articulate your findings to a third party who was not present for everything. Here is where you set the tone and spin the story so that it becomes easy for outsiders to understand. This is an important tool for you to use when communicating your ideas with other stakeholders who were not intimate with the research process.
This is the most fun and the most frustrating part of my design process. In iteration is where I ideate, prototype, and user test. This is the making part that a lot of designers really enjoy but it can also be the most frustrating as the back and forth between prototyping and user testing can become redundant.
In iteration I start off with low-fidelity prototypes (they're not precious at this point) and start testing it out with different users. Their reactions help me to start refining the design and pinpoint some other gaps I might have missed. This is also a good time to start testing out edge cases using extreme users.
After everything has been refined and throughly tested, I will then make a more high-fidelity prototype using programs such as InVision or Framer. This will give users and other stakeholders a more clear idea of what the final product will look and feel like
Build and Deploy
At this point if this is a tech based product, it is then handed off to the developers and engineers. Before everything gets handed off to another teammate, it is important to finish building out all of the necessary references such as style guidelines and graphic elements.
Measure happens at the end of the launch and is a time for designers to sit back and celebrate all of the hard work they have put in but it is also a really great opportunity to learn even more. The metrics allow them to analyze all of the data and start to map out a plan for improvement, enhancement, and debugging.