The following parts describe how I think about my design process in general. Steps are not necessary linear and in this order, but how every designer says: "It depends" and it really depends on the project.
A responsible designer should always check the status of your application and related business. This is often made by annoying questions — typically a lot of "Why?" But don’t be afraid. I will help you find the right answers.
I present you and your business via the application to target users so I need to understand you. I ask questions, but also listen and watch. I prefer to arrange meeting in the client's office to feel the spirit of the company. This is the part with an overlap into business analysis, because design should support your business.
Now it is time for users. It can be complete research, analytics, interview, support tickets, user testing and other sources directly related to users.
I don't choose the easiest way without doubts. I am not afraid to come with new ideas or arguments and validate them with decision makers. I use the appropriate fidelity of the prototype from sketches to mockups to interactive HTML.
You are the one who understands your field of business. Designers can work for you, but I work with you and your team e.g. on design workshops.
You will probably never get the best design at first try. A good designer knows it and offers you interactive work. In a first design meeting I typically prepare very general prototypes — concepts just to have something to talk about, because many ideas come with first design.
During a design process you get comments about each part of my job. It can be personal or remote one, but you will always know what is going to happen and why. I explain designs and answer to all your questions, because a good designer knows what to design and why.
I prefer to be a part of the whole development process. I discuss often with developers and visual designers to get the right result.
That's all. This is my design process and my projects are successful and clients are satisfied with using this.