When I'm working on a new (or existing product), I usually start with a first step of research and analysis:
In this scenario I can work with qualitative and quantitative data and I can start to delineate the basic helpful elements for the design process.
After the UX Analisys (helpful to figure out pain points and suggestions to improve the user experience), I work on defining Personas (or updating if already identified). Usually I create Personas starting from quantitative data (Google Analytics statistics) and qualitative data (HotJar Heat Maps and Recording Sessions, Polls, Surveys and Interviews). Once I've identified all the Personsas, I define the user flows, according with the pain points previously analysed, by creating better user journeys.
Once all the researches and analysis were done and all the Personsas and User Flows were identified, I work on the design aspect. Usually I start to sketch on paper with pencils, and pens. I also use coloured highlighters to identify main Call-To-Action buttons and the most important areas for the user journey (this helps me to present sheets to the team during introduction meetings). After the first sketches on paper, I translate everything in digital by using Adobe XD. I usually work without colours (only black, white and gradients of grey) to put the focus on the template and the contents organisation inside each page.
If you want to take a look on an example of Wireframes, please visit this link.
Starting from the digital Wireframes, I create a high-fidelity Prototypes of the product. During this design phase, I add all the creativity elements (logos, images, icons, branded colours, textures, gradients, etc.). I work closely with stakeholders in an Agile environment, by implementing amends, feedbacks and suggestions. Every screen and every piece of work goes through several iterations, collaborations with different teams in the business, extensive research and testing with real users.
If you want to take a look on an example of a Prototype, please visit this link.
This is not the “End of the Journey”. After I've been done with my job, I usually work closely with Developers, by sharing with them mark-up documents (to better understand the design specs of my prototypes) and in some cases I'm directly providing CSS3 style codes. I also keep track of the user experience of the new (or updated) product, by regularly monitoring the most “Heat Areas” through heat maps and by viewing recording sessions.