Understanding Iterative Design

Iterative design is a method used in the design of a product that provides periodic testing and review at different stages during design in order to eliminate flaws before the product is completed and launched. Iterative design is a process of improving the design over time and can take place at any phase of the design process, although it’s best to implement it early in the product lifecycle to achieve the most cost savings. This savings is because it is cheaper and easier to create a prototype to test than it is to develop a total system or product.


Image from Innovation Labs

In iterative design, a product is developed in cycles. The initial design is tested by a small group of users. Issues are documented and reviewed, and after that the design is edited to eliminate problems. This cycle is repeated a few times until the design is ready to be implemented. Iterative design is important because it allows teams to reduce usability issues and develop a good user experience. Wireframing and prototyping can be useful tools in iterative design.

Once a user’s need has been identified and ideas have been generated to meet that need, a prototype will be developed. Testing of the prototype will show whether it meets the need and the results will help amend the design. A new prototype will be created and the process will begin again until the best possible product has been developed. Prototyping is inexpensive and quick to create, making it a cost-effective way to improve designs.  It can be extremely helpful when a team has several ideas and is unsure of which one to pursue. Developing a prototype of each idea and then assembling rapid user feedback can help the team choose which ideas move forward with no further cost.

Design iteration means learning from failure before putting a product in front of users – so that you are judged on success.”

Example of Iterative Design

An example of iterative design is Wikipedia, where users can add missing information and correct mistakes that have been made by former contributors. Anyone is able to update and improve the content at any time. The editor can review and decide when the change is an improvement. Over time the theory is that Wikipedia’s content will evolve and improve making it a valuable asset online. While one person’s improvement may not be seen as such by another, in your iterative design, you will have control in the decision making.

Benefits of Iterative Design

  • Cost-effectiveness
  • Clarity of direction within the team
  • User feedback showing if it is meeting user needs
  • Share the design process for client feedback
  • Involves development team for further feedback
  • Regular testing
  • Helps with “lessons learned” for a solid finished product
  • Gives stakeholders better visibility of progress at each iteration

Final thoughts

Iterative design allows designers to create and test quickly as well as effectively. The best designs can continue forward through the design process while those that are not showing promise can be taken off the list. It is a cost-effective way to put user experience in the center of the design process.

Social Media Campaign Strategy – Medispa

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For my Social Media Campaign Strategy, I choose to take a look at MediSpa located in Newtown CT. They have recently moved to a new location within a newly built complex and will be having a grand opening event. Along with the grand opening they will be having product launches, membership specials and presentation events for specific services.

With the new location they need to establish a strong presence on social media to bring in new clients and maintain continued support from existing clientele. They offer a wide range of services from beauty to weight loss in a beautiful serene location convenient to the area. The content strategy will help them build the confidence of potential clients along with sharing their passion for combining the science and beauty of aesthetics with extensive education for both staff and clients. Their providers have collectively performed 250,000+ treatments for over seven years and have received several awards for their success:

  • Ultimate 100 Global Aesthetic Leaders 2019
  • Top 1% Nationwide for Botox, Juvederm and CoolSculpting
  • Aesthetic Practice of the Year Northeast 2018

To create excitement for the upcoming grand opening, I have prepared a content calendar to help build anticipation. The content will share events leading up to the grand opening event as well as a look at some of the cost saving membership they offer at certain times of the year. The strategy will increase aware of services to existing clients and open new opportunities for potential new client.

The Campaign Strategy includes:

  • Campaign goal and objectives
  • Recommendations
  • Target audience
  • Content plan and brand personality
  • Content calendar
  • Measurement strategy
  • Recommendations

Social media is able to reach a large majority of the targeted audience. Through this channel, posts can create excitement of upcoming events, educate users about the services available to them and give them goals to work towards. It will also drive traffic to their site which will lead to appointments in the spa. The channels within this strategy will be Facebook and Instagram as both of these platforms work well with photography to reach the targeted audience.

The brand is elegant but lends to a natural beauty. The brand voice will be shown within the proposed content calendars to maintain the level of service clientele is accustomed to while bring in new clients. The strategy will be measured by followers, engagement, appointments to sales and analysis. The future strategy will be based on the success and failures of the current plan to continue growth in revenue. Although change can be scary, in content strategy, change is exciting and builds the brand.

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Crisis communications – Fashion profiting from tragedy

A little less than a month ago, my daughter who attends Newtown High School, sent me an image which was posted on Instagram of a torn-up sweatshirt with Sandy Hook printed on it. She said everyone is so upset – it took me a minute to realize exactly what I was looking at. Fashion brand Bstroy debuted the brand’s spring/summer 2020 collection, designed by Brick Owens and Duey Catorze. The line featured distressed hoodies reading “Stoneman Douglas,” “Sandy Hook,” “Virginia Tech” and “Columbine,” the sites of four of the deadliest school shootings in the US. The school shooting-themed hoodies were shown at a show during New York Fashion Week.

Social media

Photos from the show were posted on their Instagram account, and quickly drew outrage from around the world. But what was gut wrenching for me were the comments from survivors or relatives of victims. I saw my daughter’s post as well as several of her classmates begging them to remove the sweatshirts and asking if they had no feelings for those affected by gun violence. One person commented, “My dead classmates dying should not be a f***ing fashion statement.”

On Twitter, a spokesperson for the Vicky Soto Memorial Fund, established after teacher Victoria Soto was killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School, posted, “This is just absolutely horrific. A company is making light of our pain and other’s pain for fashion. Selling sweatshirts with our name and bullet holes. Unbelievable.”

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Designers response

Owens posted a handout from the show on Instagram, which reads, “Sometimes life can be painfully ironic. Like the irony of dying violently in a place you considered to be a safe, controlled environment, like school. We are reminded all the time of life’s fragility, shortness, and unpredictability yet we are also reminded of its infinite potential.”

They didn’t seem to be fazed by the hurt that they were causing all that have been touched by school shootings and rather felt that their own personal struggles were holding them back from being understood for their “art”.

“We wanted to make a comment on gun violence and the type of gun violence that needs preventative attention and what its origins are, while also empowering the survivors of tragedy through storytelling in the clothes,” Owens wrote in an email to Today. “Also built into the device is the fact that our image as young, black males have not been traditionally awarded credit for introducing avant-garde ideas. So many people have assumed our message to be lazy just because of what they’ve been taught about black men. These hoodies were made with all of these intentions in mind, and to explore all of these societal issues. Not just the surface layer of gun violence in schools but also the different ways that we relate to each other and the dated ideas that still shape the assumptions we make about each other.”

Looking back – what should have been done

I don’t think the company or designers handled this situation well. They continue to have the images posted on their Instagram with over 4,000 comments under each picture. They defended their vision rather than understanding what their designs have done to those affected by school shootings. If they were trying to make a point to politicians to make a change, they missed their mark. The only ones affected by their vision were the ones having to relive the tragedies day after day. They are trying to profit from tragedy; if they wanted to make a political statement, there are many other ways to do this.

Important steps to take in a social media crisis

Act immediately – A social media crisis needs to be dealt with immediately. It’s important to accept responsibility as soon as possible. Brick Owens and Duey Catorze as well as Bstroy did not take responsibility but rather fed on the wounds they had opened.

Rethink your schedule – Reschedule all content that was supposed to go live once the crisis has occurred. The worst thing to do in the middle of a social media crisis is to try to promote a product or service. Bstroy used the anger to continue to promote their brand. Within hours, the images of their distasteful product were on national news along with the angered posts beneath their images.

Post an official statement on your website – Once a major crisis has occurred, an official statement needs to be made and posted on the website. Explain what happened in full detail and telling the company’s side of the story in an empathetic tone. With Bstroy, at no point have the designers or company posted an apology to the victims and their images continue to be posted on all social media accounts.

Avoid controversial topics – Never assume customers share the views on a particular topic as the company or creator. Discussing controversial topics is almost never a good idea. Avoid religion, politics, foreign policy and most social issues.


I created a social media management plan workflow that shows what steps Bstroy should have taken immediately after the crisis occurred.

A lot of brands don’t know how to handle a social media crisis properly. Addressing the crisis as soon as possible and to being honest with the audience is the most important thing to do. It’s a good idea for brands to prepare for a social media crisis by creating a crisis management plan and training a group of employees on how to handle a crisis. Understanding the necessary skills for successfully dealing with a social media crisis is key to handling one the right way.