Although design is a creative activity there is a methodical three stage iterative process that must be followed. The three main stages quoted in UX Design Process Best Practices, Documentation for Moving Design Forward a UXPin e-book are:
Determine the needs of the user to ensure that the end result is what the user wants. Research is first because the more you know before you start the better but it is never to late to learn more about the client.
Determine how to give the client what they need so that the product is designed with the required features.
3. User Testing:
Test design with users for approval or to discover shortcomings.
This cycle is repeated one stage after another as often as required to improve the design until it fulfils the client’s need.