One of the most important questions to ask yourself when designing is 'who will experience it'?
Defining who your users are first allows you to focus your efforts towards their needs.
Once you know who your users are, you can define your user's paths. How will they navigate your design and what are the end goals of their experience. How will their needs be attended to, without any interruptions.
Be in their shoes.
Analyze your experiences yourself. Define first who you are in this experience. Write down what you like and dislike from beginning to end.
This can be done with any experience, a walk in a neighborhood park, a shopping trip, trying to find the hours and location of a local restaurant. What worked for you, what didn't, and what you would change about it, are all very key elements when evaluating the purpose of your design.
Map it out.
Literally think from beginning to end, to even repeating the process. What is the circle you want your users to be in, and how are you guiding them along the way.
I'm a design consultant. I'm available to help analyze, revamp, manage, and execute design that interacts with your users.
Design leads people down a path that generates new and returning clients. This itself elevates the importance of design. Design can not be a second thought in any process, it needs to be 'the' guiding thought of a process.