Design Thinking Process Explained

Design thinking is a creative and problem-solving methodology.

It's human-centred so empathising with your users lies in its fundamentals. The aim is to define a real problem and create a solution that will improve your client's lives.

Design Thinking vs Traditional approach.

Design Thinking is a flexible and contextual alternative to the traditional linear and structured method. It allows you to detect potential issues with your product at an early stage of the process and make the necessary adjustments.

What are the stages of design thinking?

The five stages of design thinking are Empathise, Define, Ideate, Prototype, Test. We tend to think of them as a cycle of multiple iterations.

Stage One

Empathise

Get a clear understanding of the user's needs. That includes different exercises that make people part of the process. Here you get to know your clients, their values, fears, and goals. If your product has already existed for some time, you will find out what are the main issues users run into.

Stage Two

Define

Use different techniques to define a problem. It is important to prioritise and target goals which will have the biggest positive impact on your product first.

Stage Three

Ideate

The team gathers to generate ideas that could solve the problem. This often relies on multiple iterations of different potential solutions. By the end, you will choose only a few of those to test with real users.

Stage four

Prototype

Create a working, low-fidelity prototype. This used to be done with pen and paper, however, the advances in prototyping products allows us to have fully interactive prototypes that are close to the real thing.

Stage five

Test

Test your prototype with users. The goal is to observe and understand what parts of your solution work and where there is room for improvement. Just a handful of testers can shed light on 90% of the issues that you will need to address. Organise the data from the tests and get to work.

Summary

Design Thinking drives innovation. It is used all over the world in many different industries. This flexible and smart method can be used by non-designers, too.

Design Thinking is in the foundation of some popular and effective ways of designing and building digital products, such as the Design Sprints. It is the modern way of creating digital products. That mindset can also be used for creating a better work environment and improving company workflows.