A UX methodology:
The first and fundamental approach for any UX review of an existing solution in need of improvement, or of so-called 'defined' requirements, or additionally, of any early-stage thoughts on an envisaged solution, is the 'expert design' approach.
'Expert design' is the user experience design professional applying the years of expertise and acquired knowledge to cut through the gumph and get to the core objective - the purpose of what is actually wanted, or, more to the point, what is needed. Once identified, it is then a case of relating the now-accurately identified objective to the all-too-often long-forgotten and long-suffering users, and to how they can most easily, most logically, and with minimum fuss, carry out their task, having removed all barriers and pain previously placed in the way (through non-UX lead design and journey adaptations made over time). All the while having made carrying out said task a simplistic and pleasurable experience, allowing the user to get back to their life.
Ultimately, 'expert design' is applying the considerable knowledge and expertise in cutting through the system-architecture, the BA-lead ‘solution’, the product owners’ 'vision', and all that non-sense that is applicable to no user ever, and re-defining the so-called requirements into something user-friendly.
Another early-stage approach to reviewing a design solution or business requirement is in the 'heuristic' method. This is the review of a solution against a set of criteria ranked against a scale of issue severity. The more severe, the higher the priority it is to fix. This method lends itself to business-lead, rather than design-lead reviews. It's pragmatic, but by its nature, isn't a design-lead solution, so is more a band-aid than a solution in itself.
Think, flow, sketch = design
Now it's time to design the solutions for existing problems, or from the ground up, and all based on the methods mentioned.
Adapt, improve and iterate
This is the next phase and logical next-step of any UX-lead design pathway.
The 'what', 'why' and initial 'how' have been established, now it is time to iterate, adapt and improve on that initial design review. This comes in the form of rationalising the solution against such things as user insight, guerrilla-testing that might highlight possible UX issues or concerns, and generally sense-checking the solution with any new knowledge gained. With sound UX reasoning, the solution is improved, and the iteration cycle goes around again.
UX is never done and never finished (despite what your project plan tells you) - requirements change, businesses change, users and their expectations change, even that slow-moving thing called 'technology' changes sometimes. There is always room for improvement.
It is a happy coincidence that the much-mentioned and oft-practiced development-oriented Agile methodology is the most fitting and conducive in producing UX-lead fit-for-purpose professionally designed solutions. In this way, working closely alongside keyboard monkeys (developers) to create rapid prototyped on-the-fly markup builds of the design solution speeds up the design-build cycle. This also allows for interaction design to be fleshed-out (not a clickable wireframe prototype) and makes things tangible. Agile methodology is also crucial to successful executions of the UX vision.
Waterfall methodology by contrast is both arbitrary and a false-economy in arriving at a worth-while solution. The cheap man pays twice, as they say.
Wireframing, journey mapping, design, annotating interaction and generally conceiving ideas is done with pen and paper. Only when sound does this move to wireframing digitally - via Axure/Omnigraffle/Sketch or some such tool. Design is a thought-through process, conducted by design professionals and not based on subjective and unqualified opinion.
Wireframes are not a 'deliverable' nor are they something 'to be signed off'. Wireframes are but a manifestation of professional and reasoned design thought processes - a scribble on the back of a napkin is of the same value if that aforementioned 90% of effort has been put into the thinking stage. Likewise, user testing results are not a 'deliverable' - they're a mechanism to inform the design professional, be it to give insight to user interaction, to surface any unforeseen issues or roadblocks or otherwise to generate new ideas born from witnessing other humans interact with the solution. Businesses expecting to 'sign off' on such things is akin to a politician asking a scientist to show their working, for approval no-less.
In UX, the only deliverable is the end-product. One born of solid and sound UX-lead design processes.
The content on this page is evolving, much like UX solutions do and Agile working facilitates.