I wanted to highlight methods and other design tools I've used as part of my design process for past projects. While the design process takes a different shape and form for each project, I view methods as a way of doing things.
Interaction Design Framework
I created this framework for the first assignment of my Foundations of Interaction Design class. Creating frameworks are great because they help visualize and externalize abstract ideas. In the process of creating them, the designer becomes clearer about the idea to be communicated, and the framework itself becomes a communication tool for other stakeholders.
I'm old school and like to write things down when I can. It helps me visualize and remember things better. Thumbnail sketches are groups of little drawings, in 1-2 inch squares. There's no hard rule on the dimensions because the purpose is to get as many ideas on paper without focusing on the aesthetics of your sketch. It's been useful in the ideation phase to identify emerging themes.
Mind mapping is yet another method to help visualize and externalize what is in the designer's head. The map revolves around a single concept or idea, which is drawn in the center. Related ideas or concepts are then connected to the center, and further details branch out from there. While thumbnail sketches are generally images, mind mapping incorporates words and images. This combination can reveal deeper meaning in the central subject.