Focus on Methods, Not Process

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At a glance, method and process may seem like the same thing, but a closer look reveals their distinct differences. A method is a how you do something, while process is putting methods through an established routine.

Don't get stuck thinking a process will solve your problems because without effective methods, you're likely to end up with an uninspired result. At ZURB we call small, subtle surprises "wow moments" — they delight users and create value for a website or application. They're unlikely to happen without talented people who use methods that inspire your team. Finding these gems doesn't happen by using a process, you need methods that push your team to look at the problem from a different perspective without a lot of overhead.

We often use sketching to uncover interactions, brainstorming and mind mapping to push our product ideation, and observation when discovering problems with a website. Before starting your next design project, develop some methods of your own for unearthing your own gems. Users will appreciate those wow moments, not the process you used to create them.

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It has 4 comments.

Chris (ZURB) says

I would have to agree 100%.

While I was in school, the professors focused a lot on learning the creative process and not too much about the methods within that process. After graduating I struggled to realize that some of my methods weren't working out. I could get through a project using the process that was beat into my brain during school, but it wasn't until I really started refining my methods that I started to really grow as a designer.

I'm still learning and growing each day and love incorporating new methods into my process.

Jeremy (ZURB) says

I disagree. Process and methods are two sides of the same coin (in fact, they're often synonyms). It doesn't make sense to think of one without the other. You have to apply a process to a problem, it's not an autopilot. There's craft to it.

In design, both require deep knowledge and sense of craft to create great work. You can do good stuff oftentimes with one and not the other, but not great stuff all the time without both a process and methods together!

Bryan (ZURB) says

@jeremy, you took my bait! Of course process is important, but most designers put way too much emphasis on it. Falls in the same category as: Process is Not a Sales Strategy

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