Sketching is the most important part of my process.

I just began working on a project that will deliver a new Microsoft Windows 10-based application to market for a global financial services organization. The application will take advantage of the soon to be released Windows 10 mobile platform (July 29, 2015) and will bring it on par with the current application used on the Google Android, Apple iOS, and Windows 8 platforms.


In my first week I’ve spent time getting to know the existing application that was developed so I could get familiar with and understand the current functionality and user flow. This review will serve as a baseline for building out the desired future user experience of the new application.


The form factors for deployment will include traditional PC, Windows Phone, and Microsoft Surface hardware. As more of an iOS-focused designer, there has been a bit of a learning curve to working within the Windows 10 environment. The biggest thing to get used to is the modality between having everything exposed on the desktop as is within the iOS environment, to everything exposed but through the Windows Start menu.


The goal of a cross platform application like this is to have a similar look and feel regardless of the native differences (swipe of Android or hamburger with iOS). Responsive design is still responsive design, so getting to pixel perfection regardless of platform is paramount.


When designing, I always start by reviewing the existing application, as well as competitor apps, so I can understand the current user experience. I identify design principles that seem to have worked well and attempt to incorporate them into the design. The sketching process comes next, where I can quickly document ideas and share multiple ideas quickly to aid in collaboration with other team members. The goal of the sketching process is to iterate and make decisions quickly.


There is a departure amongst designers on what comes next. For me, I like to develop low fidelity wireframes, iterate on that, and then move into the visual design. Some designers like to do high fidelity wireframes, but I prefer to complete low fidelity, black and white wires. This allows me to invest more time on really getting the concept and user’s experience down versus getting too caught up in visual design too early. For the wireframe development process, I use OmniGraffle and develop the visuals in Photoshop.


Stay tuned; there’s more to come from me on my journey to complete a commercially available Windows 10 application.