User Experience Design is a unique field, in that it allows one to engage his or her analytical, creative, and critical thinking. Each project has its own particulars, but the process or approach is always similar.
Before any wireframes are sketched or color palettes picked, a project must go through the research phase. Whether it be a redesign or a brand new product, it is vital to identify the various stakeholders, define their goals and values, and understand what they are trying to achieve. Gathering external and internal data, conducting stakeholder interviews, and outlining the facts, assumptions and questions surrounding a project can help give direction moving forward.
With the preliminary research in mind, the project can now move toward a more tangible state. Sketching, developing use cases, site mapping, and establishing hierarchies give the designer an idea of what features are needed and why, removing unnecessary elements to simplify the user experience.
Moving from wireframes to low, medium and high fidelity prototypes allows the designer to test and solicit feedback. I primarily use Sketch to prototype, and test the usability with products like Invision or Marvel App.
Using feedback from usability testing allows further refining and interating. A/B testing can give insight into what designs or features are best for the end user.