# The feature design process

# Introduction

We use the Design Council’s Double Diamond design framework (opens new window) in order to ensure that adequate time and creative thinking is given to any given feature. Using this framework gives us a common language with which to discuss design.

The framework should be applied to all features, great or small. The amount of time we spend on the process for each feature will vary. To this end, we provide three model processes.

# The method

There are four stages to the method: Discover, Define, Develop, Deliver.

# Discover

  • Articulate user needs, ideally with evidence

# Define

  • State the specific problem we want to address
  • Refer to the design patterns already used in LGD, gov.uk.
  • Create user journey mapping
  • Clarify the aims and construct measurable goals
  • Set the design challenge
  • Document the rationale behind design decisions.

# Develop

  • Generate ideas
  • Prototype

# Deliver

  • Test (with real users if possible)
  • Iterate
  • Specify for build

# Application

# The process

For every feature, decide how much time to allocate to its research and design.

  1. Lightweight. c.2 hours. A workshop to run through the main questions and document how a feature meets user needs, and to decide what testing or KPIs should be considered. This should be done even for existing solutions or those brought in from elsewhere. Lightweight workshop template (opens new window)
  2. Middleweight. 5-15 hours. Where more work than this is required, choose which of the 35 exercises from the Design Council site are required. These exercises are divided into the relevant sections: Discover (opens new window), Define (opens new window), Develop (opens new window), Deliver (opens new window). Middleweight workshop template (opens new window)
  3. Heavyweight. c.30 hours. At the other end of the scale the process is a full Design Sprint (opens new window), in which a feature is designed and tested over five days.

# Considerations

  • Have the four stages been followed and are they clearly documented?
  • Does the new feature diverge from any current patterns and if so is the rationale documented?
  • Is it easy to use? (help text, updated guidance, readme)

# Background

The Double Diamond framework was pioneered by the Design Council UK, whose mission is "to champion great design that improves lives and makes things better". The Design Council began on 19 December 1944 as the Council of Industrial Design (COID), founded by Hugh Dalton, President of the Board of Trade. Its objective was “to promote by all practicable means the improvement of design in the products of British industry”. It has since been instrumental in promoting inclusive design.