Here is our process, it appears to be quite different to replies so far so I'll outline it.
Discuss requirements and goals extensively with client; for us the most important thing is what they are selling and what they want to achieve. By selling this can be a single product, range of products, type of product that they sell; or a service they offer or anything else - not necessarily a tangible product (basically what it is they are doing). Also learn about their company, background and so on.
Perform audience research to get an insight into their customers (or users) common needs, desires and interests. Discover who they are, where they are, what touchpoints they use, what online services (and if relevant offline services) they use.
Using the above, investigate different solutions; leading to the design of a strategy to achieve their goals and a design for any solutions that will be used to achieve the strategy.
Product Development; basically building and testing the solution
If the client pays for it, audience testing to gain pre-release insights which we can use to make changes (this can be during or immediately after development)
We then do performance monitoring, analysis and optimization. By performance meaning penetrative performance.
Obviously in the design stage itself (points 1, 2 and 3), these points are broken down into their own process. Point 3 probably being most relevant to this thread, so I'll break that down a bit; though it varies from project to project as they are all different.
Basically it includes two primary processes; a strategy and then a product design based on the strategy.
This is where we use pre-design investigation to outline the different ways in which we can deliver on their goals, the types of solutions, relevant platforms and so on; and of course the types of results they could expect from such solutions.
Here we perform a process that looks something like this for each solution (though the process can vary depending on what the solution is; so my example is for a website):
Wireframes, flow diagrams and other structural and process designs as appropriate
- Sketches of UI and UX concepts
- Artistic direction (so themes, messages, colors etc.)
- Digital concepts created in say Photoshop, Fireworks and Illustrator
There will be a number of different designs, which we run by the client and advise the client on. There are other things like content design, copyrighting and a host of other things too, but those aspects are all solution dependent.
Then onto production.