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What is Design Thinking? 

Design thinking is a user-centric approach to problem solving. In design thinking the goal is to understand the user’s needs, and redefine approaches to solving problems that keep the user as the central focus rather than the solution. Design thinking strives to keep the users at the heart of the product development, rather than the outcome. It is a process that strives to  understand unmet customer needs and create new solutions through various processes including concept development, applied creativity, prototyping and experimentation. 

This leads to innovative, different and new strategies that meps to consider. 

The Principles of Design Thinkingight be overlooked in more traditional methods.The rate at which products and services are innovating increases when design thinking processes are applied. 

Design Thinking Origins

The idea of design thin king originates from a book published in 1969, The Science of the Artificial. In this book, author Herbert A. Simon details a model for design thinking that has since gone through multiple iterations. In the 21st century, the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford is the foremost institution for design thinking. Examining the classic human-centric approach to design there are several nonlinear approaches or st

Design Thinkin innovation

1.Empathize

Design thinking starts with a designer's ability to have empathy for his/her users. At this point in the process, the goal is to understand the user inside and out. What do they love, hate, need, want and so forth. What motivates them to take action? The answers to these questions will inform the approach to the solution. 

This type of information is generally achieved through engaging with users through interviews or even casual conversations, as methods for data collection and filtration become more and more prevalent, some information about a user’s psychology can also be gained through data.

2.Define 

Now is the time to return to the problem. We know a bit about our users and what drives them and this information can help better understand what the true problem is. What is the actual issue that designers are trying to solve for users? The problem may be fluid and what is stated as the initial problem may be subject to change throughout the process. This is a step that can be revisited during the process. 

3.Ideate

This is the moment where the users and the problem intersect and designers begin to brainstorm solutions for the users based on information acquired. Design thinking, by its very nature, solution orients by thinking outside the traditional parameters with the customer or user at the heart of the brainstorming. Brainstorming and ideation means examining all possibilities, even the most outlandish ideas. From there, a short list can be created of the most user centric and plausible solutions. 

4.Prototype 

Prototyping takes the ideas previously created in step 3 and shortlisted and makes them into tangible products. It’s important to note that there isn’t just one prototype made in design thinking, but several. But there is a trade off, the more time and money spent on prototyping the slower the project and the more expensive. Prototyping leaves no questions over the final design features.

5.Test

The final step of testing and feedback requires that the prototypes are tested on actual users and their feedback is received. Real users should corroborate with the design choices and feel as though the solution is both the right one and is solved in a way that benefits the user first and foremost. This is also a moment to troubleshoot and to find any mistakes or places for improvement. 

It’s important to note that these five steps are not linear and can be quite cyclical as the process endures. 

UX Designers

So, wait, what about UX? So far we’ve talked about design thinking almost exclusively. That’s because design thinking is a method of thinking and development that is one hundred percent applicable in UX and other fields. The principles of design thinking refer to the same stages of development as UX or other design processes. 

UX designers are also problem solvers attempting to help users to navigate a product successfully and easily in order to achieve a desired outcome. In UX, the user or client is also at the heart of the design process. Design thinking and UX are a great power couple because thinking creatively to solve problems with the user at the forefront create empowered experiences. 

Both UX and design thinking are user-centric approaches to problem solving. UX ensures that users of a technology or software product have positive and easeful experiences, whenever possible, employing design thinking techniques.

As a UX designer it’s important to use design thinking to refine the design every step of the way. Design thinking is not a solo experience. Teams work together to envision and create human-first optimal solutions. 

How Design Thinking Will Define the Success of Your Next Project 

The principles of design thinking will help define the success of your next UX project. Through the processes of empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test, designers create a UX that resonates with target audiences and actual users. Outstanding UX and customer-driven solution-oriented products will create high user satisfaction, brand loyalty, and result in conversions for the business and increased profits. 

Do you have a software project you’re ready to begin? Or maybe just an idea you’d like to explore with a team of experts? Pixel506 can help! 

About Pixel506

Pixel506 is a nearshore americas based in Costa Rica that helps businesses gain a competitive advantage and exceed business goals through user experience strategies, data and innovative solutions. Founded in 2009, we have over a decade of experience helping big, medium and small companies succeed in the digital world.

Key Takeaways

  • Design thinking is a user-centric approach to problem solving. In design thinking the goal is to understand the user’s needs, and redefine approaches to solving problems that keep the user as the central focus.

  • The idea of design thinking originates from a book published in 1969, The Science of the Artificial.

  • The five principles of design thinking are: empathy, define, ideate, prototype and test. These nonlinear elements keep the user at the center of the solution seeking process. 

  • The principles of design thinking refer to the same stages of development as UX or other design processes. 

  • Both UX and design thinking are user-centric approaches to problem solving. 

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