To build powerful products that perform better, generate more revenue, and attract more users – enterprises must create compelling designs that result in the best user experience. Design thinking is an effective design approach for doing so. It can help us better understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems, and create innovative design solutions.
In this blog, we will understand what design thinking is and how you can use it to improve your product lifecycle.
What is Design Thinking?
Design thinking is a non-linear and iterative approach that focuses on seeing a problem from different angles so that you can develop the right solution.
The idea behind the approach is to understand the user, break all the assumptions, and redefine the problem so that we can identify alternative solutions that you might not have thought of in the initial level of understanding.
Stages of Design Thinking
There are five stages of design thinking according to the Interaction Design Foundation:
Stage 1: Empathize
Putting yourself in users’ shoes to better understand their problems. This stage helps in setting aside your assumptions and get a better insight into users.
Stage 2: Define
Aligning the information gathered in the first stage to clearly define user needs and problems in the form of problem statements. Doing so will help you in creating personas so that you can better understand their problems.
Stage 3: Ideate
Thinking out of the box and looking for alternative ways to solve the problem so that you can identify innovative solutions. Brainstorming plays a crucial role in this stage.
Stage 4: Prototype
Experimenting with the ideas by building solution prototypes. The goal is to identify the best possible solution for each problem.
Stage 5: Test
Rigorously testing the prototypes. The end goal of this stage is to learn from prototypes, redefine problems, and develop new iterations if possible. You can also use it to rule out alternative solutions so that you have a clearer overview of what your ideal solution will be.
However, the stages of design thinking differ according to MIT Sloan Management. According to them, design thinking has the following four stages:
Stage 1: Understanding the problem
Stage 2: Develop possible solutions
Stage 3: Prototype, test, and refine
Stage 4: Implement
Similarly, the design and consultancy firm IDEO mentions six stages of design thinking and most of them are like the ones I mentioned above.
So, the number of stages in design thinking may differ. But the ideology will remain the same.
How to use Design Thinking to Build Compelling Design Experiences?
Design thinking is a brilliant approach to product development. However, it works best when we combine it with other design approaches.
Here are some design approaches with which you can combine design thinking to improve product development:
1. User-centered design
A design approach in which we develop designs by keeping the end-users in mind, not based on preconceived assumptions or the preferences of designers. The whole process involves specific steps like planning, analysis, designing, testing, and refining.
2. Human-centred Design
This design approach is a lot like user-centric designs, but our major focus is on people. We aim to build designs that benefit humans. The approach involves participatory action research and human input.
3. Lean Product Development
Like user and human-centric designs, lean product development also focuses on users instead of predetermined assumptions and pre-defined plans. The approach consists of three stages: build, measure, and learn. As a result, you can decrease time-to-market, waste fewer resources, and launch products that are more relevant to users.
5. Experience Design
Experience design summarises all experiences and interactions with a brand, product, or service. The idea is to design such a brilliant experience that users can cherish. A good user experience should be centered around principles like usability, usefulness, value, and accessibility.
Using design thinking with these approaches will help you build products that are more relevant, useful, and delightful to users.
Using Design Thinking in Product Adoption
Design thinking also plays an essential role during product adoption. The end goal during this stage is to ensure users can use your product to its complete extent and the design of your product will play a crucial role in ensuring that. Here are some other ways you can use the approach in product adoption:
1. User Onboarding
Since the first impression matters a lot, you can use design thinking to build immersive onboarding experiences that keep users hooked and reduce abandonment rates.
You can also use the approach to train users in using your product. It will improve their proficiency, productivity, engagement, and satisfaction.
Automated self-service can be another application of design thinking in product adoption. For example, chatbots can provide in-app support without the need for much human intervention. It will reduce the wait time and technical support cost, thus resulting in a better user experience.
By approaching product adoption from the design thinking point of view, product teams can find innovative ways of catering to user needs and improve their satisfaction.
In a Nutshell
Building great products and compelling user experiences is more important than ever in today’s world. It is possible only if you or the team you are hiring is follows the design thinking approach in product design and development.
At Softobiz, we understand the importance of design thinking. Hence, it is an essential part of our UI/UX designing and enterprise application development expertise. We can help you grow your business by building powerful products and immersive design experiences. Talk to our experts to learn more about the approach and understand how it can help you deliver immense business value to your customers.