Collaborative User Centered Design
I consider myself to be what I describe as an end-to-end User Experience Designer. Now, what do I mean by this; I like taking look at a project during every step of the process, from conception to completion, the entire time wearing the shoes of the user.
From a design perspective I like to plan everything from the overall User Flow and Information Architecture, to the Interface and Interaction and the Visual Design. Even though I am not a Developer or an Engineer, I like to know how things are going to work so I can utilize the most of what the architecture has to offer, and at very least know how my UI is going to be implemented. Sometimes I even prefer to be the one integrating the design and the code.
Essentially, I am a control freak. Yes, I realize that that doing everything is for the most part impossible in some scenarios. There is a method to the madness; the reason I like to have such an integrated role is that every little thing effects the user’s experience. The performance of the application, interactions such as hover or pressed states and dialogs and transitions, even things such as color contrast layout and composition, can be used to subconsciously guide a your users.
On the flip side of the coin, I also prefer it if everyone to be part of the design process, including: Developers, Quality Assurance, Marketing/Sales, Producers, and other Executive Stakeholders. The purpose of this is not to implement feedback. For your own sanity, you don’t not want to foster a design by committee environment. Instead explain why you are making the decisions that you are and stay firm, and get all parties to communicate and understand each other’s requirements, and how they relate to each other, and the end user.