Design is often seen as secondary to other business activities. It’s something you do once you’ve nailed the strategy, invented the product and finished production. Right? WRONG. Design thinking can change everything. And when it comes to product design in particular, a process called design thinking enables you to see things in a new light. It allows you to iterate with real users instead of your imagination and uncover opportunities that are invisible to conventional methods of analysis. The result? Products that are easier, more useful, more desirable and even enjoyable to use. Let’s take a look at how designers achieve this…
A short introduction to Design Thinking
Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that can be applied to solve all kinds of problems – from marketing and branding challenges to customer experience design problems. The framework is about using a specific set of tools for creative problem-solving rather than following a strict process. It’s about being flexible and creative when trying to find solutions to challenges. Traditional business thinking often involves asking “what if?” questions. For example, what if we reduce the price of our product? Design thinking flips that around, asking “why?” instead. It’s about asking why a problem exists, why customers do what they do, and ultimately why they would want your product.
How does design thinking work?
The design thinking process has five distinct stages that blend together naturally as you progress. Once you understand the stages and how they relate to one another, you’ll also have a better idea of how to implement design thinking in your own business. You can use this process whether you’re designing a new product, improving an existing product, or engaging with customers in any capacity. The process starts with understanding the problem you’re trying to solve and identifying potential solutions. Then, you synthesize those solutions into a few options for prototyping. After developing and testing a prototype and iterating upon it, you’ll arrive at a final solution. From there, you can scale and deploy the final solution as a product.
Define the problem you’re solving
The first step of design thinking is to identify the problem you’re trying to solve. A lot of companies skip this part or gloss over it and jump straight into solutions. This is a critical mistake and an easy trap to fall into. For example, let’s say you run a travel company and one of your main challenges is to increase signups for your travel club. Instead of diving straight into solutions, you should first understand the problem. Why do people not want to sign up for the travel club? What is the root cause behind this? If you don’t define and understand the problem, you’re unlikely to arrive at a good solution.
Create a short list of potential solutions
After you’ve defined the problem, you can start brainstorming solutions. Many designers recommend using a grid for this part of the process — it’s called a 9-box grid. To start, write down all the potential solutions to the problem on sticky notes. Then, place each sticky note into one of nine boxes on a grid. The top row represents the most desirable solutions, while the bottom row represents the least desirable solutions. In between, you’ll have solutions that are less desirable than the top row, but more desirable than the bottom row. As you place sticky notes into each box, try to think outside the box. Be creative and come up with solutions that don’t fit neatly into any one box. After completing this process, you’ll have a short list of potential solutions.
Test your assumptions with real users
Everything up to this point has been done internally. You’ve formed hypotheses based on data and insights from experts. Now, you want to test those hypotheses with real users to ensure you’re headed in the right direction. Design thinking allows you to prototype solutions quickly and test them with real users. A quick note about prototyping — it doesn’t mean you need to create a fully functional product. Instead, it can be something as simple as creating a poster that mimics your intended design. For example, let’s say you want to improve the onboarding flow of your travel club. One solution you came up with was to add a welcome email to your travel club. You can quickly create a poster that communicates the benefits of the welcome email and see if real users respond positively to it. You can do this type of user testing in person, online, or with the help of a service like UserTesting. This process is called quick and dirty prototyping, and it’s an important part of design thinking.
Iterate and make improvements based on user feedback
After testing your prototypes, you may find that they’re not quite as effective as they could be. This is normal, and you should expect to iterate upon your designs to make them better. It’s a natural part of the design process, and you shouldn’t be discouraged by it. In fact, you should be encouraged by the fact that you’re iterating and improving your designs. It means that you’re getting real user feedback and adjusting your designs based on that feedback. It means that you’re creating products that people want and need. This is how design thinking can create products that people love. It’s a process of continuous improvement that allows you to be flexible in your approach. You can’t know exactly how the process will unfold, but you can be sure that it will lead you to better products.
Design thinking is a flexible problem-solving process that can be applied to solve almost any challenge. It’s about understanding the problem first and then brainstorming potential solutions. It’s about testing those solutions with real users and iterating upon them to make them better. Here https://litslink.com/services/product-design we will create products that people love. It can help you create innovative solutions and products that customers will enjoy using.