To start I review all internal documents, requirements and precedents. I then research and analyze the competitive landscape and interview current users and stake holders.
Next I develop user scenarios, task analysis and personas. Setting clear project goals and success metrics is crucial to any project. Often they are summed up in a Design Brief.
Time to hit the whiteboard and paper pads to develop high-level architecture, create models to describe user behavior and sketch initial wireframe workflows of key scenarios.
At this point the information architecture gets finalized and I create a comprehensive set of wireframes and flows to specify all screens and intended behaviors.
Creating clickable, high-fidelity prototypes allow me to conduct comprehensive user testing. Based on the evaluation of the results some design iterations might be necessary.
As a final delivery I create a thorough functional specification doc to define the product for development, QA, and visual design and guide the implementation of the intended design.