Why Design Thinking: a non-linear process
4 minutes reading time
Design Thinking, because it is an iterative process in which we, product designers or user experience designers, look to understand the user better, leave our assumptions behind and uncover alternative solutions that may not be visible at first. The process or methodology provides transparent and solution-focused approach on how to tackle problems while designing a product. Its name couldn’t be more descriptive because it is a way of living, thinking or working, furthermore an adoption of hands-on processes too.
Designing for the needs of real people, not robots or machines, often means understanding complex processes and behaviours which are being approached from research to onboarding and only then translated into intuitive and usable products.
The 5 steps of Design Thinking
A human-centred methodology that is not necessarily sequential or linear. One is to decide on the most suitable steps ordering almost on the spot. Product designer often experiences the need of working parallely with multiple steps at the same time and enjoy repeated use of them on an iterative basis.
Variants of Design Thinking in use today consist of 3 to 7 steps, however, the 5 steps version is the most optimal before the proposal is shifted to another team. In any way, all variations are very consistent, embed the same design principles and will deliver very similar results. It tackles problems that are undefined, uncovered or unknown.
Empathise | Understand human needs involved.
Define | Re-frame and define the problem in human-centric ways.
Ideate | Human-centred problem statement.
Prototype | Adopt a hands-on approach.
Test | Develop a solution to a problem.
Design thinking brings products to live, relieving any concerns of the irritating last minute & extra expenses, as well as providing measurable indicators that keep the product maintainable and scalable. Bringing product to live involves taking steps backwards on multiple occasions, so be patient, but outcome is always fruitful with many interesting discoveries. For starters or even unbelievers, the most efficient way to accommodate intangibility of Design Thinking is to take away what is not.
Patterns of design delivery thinking
We, humans, naturally develop routines modelled, whether consciously or not, on commonly accessible knowledge, therefore repetitive actions. These allow us to act under familiar and rather comforting situations, but on the other hand, they have a great potential to prevent us from developing alternative ways of solving problems.
Design Thinking methodology is designed to work against mentioned patterns (yes, there are cases when this process is not required to form a part of problem-solving) that are stimulated and initiated in the human mind automatically, when we face stimuli we can relate to. It is designed to allow us to see a problem or solution in a new and innovative way. And it should slowly become a new design delivery pattern thinking of ours.
Design Thinking means to understand people
The methodology backed-up by rock-solid rationality even science, and above all, it seeks to generate an empathetic understanding of problems that we, humans, face. It involves primary concepts such as human needs even if unknown, emotional drivers, behaviours, motivations or pains. The nature of Design Thinking is to remove obstacles people might face when going on by their lives. The element or creativity and innovative way of problem-solving are brought by the predefined processes that are capable of generating solutions and insights of thoughts and daily actions of real people.
Is Design Thinking for product designers only?
No! It is very much for everybody, not only for Product Designers can empathise and learn about emotional drivers of real people. Anyone who seeks to encourage new way of thinking, innovative solutions or leave the comfort of a warm chair can bring fresh alternatives for our society. Design thinking essentially is a problem-solving approach focused on human-centred perspective.
Design Thinking is a well-tried design process that is to uncover new opportunities created for people in mind. Focuses on assessing known factors of a problem and uncovering more alternative ways that contribute to the correct solution.
Tackle product design process life-cycle with its complex bumps by understanding human needs involved, by human-centric problem definitions, by expanding the problem space and allowing for free thinking, by adopting an inexpensive hands-on approach where one can identify the best possible solution and lastly by developing a solution to a real problem one meant to be solving.
References and Inspiration
- Nielsen Norman Group
- The Design Sprint by Google Ventures
- Hooked by Nir Eyal
- In Pursuit Of Elegance by Matthew E. May
- User Experience Revolution by Paul Boag
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferri