Design Thinking is a user centered design-framework that allows designers to create innovative and feasible solutions which improve user experiences.
Design Thinking is not an end-all-be-all process, but it does pave a path that designers can follow to better understand users and iterate designs putting users first.
There are 5 different stages of Design Thinking; Empathizing, Defining, Ideating, Prototyping, & Testing.
Each stage is an opportunity for designers to connect with users, iterate, and improve the user experience.
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Empathy is at the center of all designs.
Who are we designing for? — What do they want/need? — What problems are they facing?
Before design was respected in the SAAS & tech community, it was primarily web developers who were responsible for designing interfaces.
As time pasted & mobile applications became prevalent — businesses began to realize that a technical brain has limitations when solving HUMAN problems.
This is where empathy comes in.
Empathize with users to better understand the problems they face.
Gather qualitative user insights by conducting user research, interviews, or workshops: card sorting, empathy workshops, etc.
Think about the user:
- Pain Points & Problems
- Wants & Needs
- Current State(s) / Solution(s)
- Past State(s) / Solution(s)
Take everything you’ve learned and break down your research into key findings.
Clearly define the user pain points, needs, solutions, and any other insights that can influence the rest of the design process. Synthesize your research into documents to share with stakeholders and the rest of the design team.
Your key findings will guide the ideation…
Start by brainstorming —use the findings you learned from your research to guide this process — all solutions should keep users in mind.. Put pen to paper and let your ideas flow. Use workshops and team meetings to get different perspectives on improving UX.
When brainstorming is complete, translate the ideas into opportunities and solutions.
To keep ideas user-centered, create personas and user stories that can be looked back at when coming up with solutions.
Ideation can be done in a notepad, Google doc, Figjam file, or whatever other software you’re comfortable using. The goal is to generate ideas, but keep those ideas organized to look back and sort through.
Turn your solutions into amazing products that users will love.
Not ALL of the solutions you generated will work, so weed out the good from the bad.
Journey Mapping, User Flow Diagrams, and your previous research can be used to create a blueprint for what to start building.
Utilize processes, methodologies, and frameworks to build products & features that will be helpful to users.
Wire-framing, Mockups & Prototyping are all crucial to creating good UX. Stay communicating with stakeholders & make sure that every decision made has a rhyme and reason.
The testing & prototyping phase go hand-in-hand. Once you’ve designed a working prototype, test it with users, track the results, collect insights, and iterate based off of those insights.
When testing is complete, synthesize your data and go back to defining, ideating, and prototype.
Conduct your usability tests based on the project goals…
- A/B Testing
- Focus Groups
When the cycle is completed and goals have been met, complete the project handoff to developers with high-fidelity renders and in-depth project documentation.
Testing should also be done AFTER the product has launched to test usability problems and verify assumptions.
Learn about conducting user-tests:
- Guide to A/B Testing
- Conduct a Usability Test
- Conduct UX Surveys — TBA
Design thinking is flexible. I’ve outlined how I generally go about design thinking, but each project requires a unique perspective, different tools, and different frameworks.
More UX walk-throughs are linked below:
- Double Diamond Process
- Ethnographic Studies — TBA
- Heat-maps/Mouse-tracking — TBA
- Diary Studies — TBA
- Choosing the best Research Methods — TBA
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