Design thinking is a complex solution-based process use to solve problems. It comes in handy while tackling complex problems encountered during the designing phase. However, it was not exclusively made for designers, in fact, all great people in the field of Art, Literature, Business, engineering, etc have practiced it. It includes
- Understanding of human needs
- Re-framing the problem
- Brainstorming Sessions
- Prototyping & Testing
Leading brands like Apple, Google, Samsung, etc have already started practicing the design thinking approach. The concept of design thinking is being taught at some of the most renowned universities like Stanford, Harvard, and MIT.
In this post, we are going to learn about the essential five stages required in the design thinking process. It’s essential to know that all five stages are not meant to be in a sequence and can be used parallelly and repeatedly.
Having a strong understanding of problems is the first & essential step in design thinking process. This stage revolves around consulting veterans to explore more possibilities through engaging, observing, and experiencing.
Gathering a substantial amount of information is initiated at this very first stage. The gathered information is then used in the upcoming stages to provide the best possible experience to the users.
All the planning done at the “empathize” stage should be initiated keeping the needs and demands of users into consideration.
“Empathy” is an essential component of the user-centered design process. It allows designers to think about problems as real users & ignore their own assumptions.
All the information gathered during the empathize stage is further analyzed in the stage to define the core problem. The problem statement should be considered in user-centered form rather than focusing on just business profit.
The stage of defining assists designers in gathering unique ideas to include features and elements in your product to help users.
Progress of next stage “Ideate” starts at this phase and initiated by asking questions like “how you can encourage people to take actions related to your product and services”
The third stage of design thinking process is responsible for generating ideas. As you have already gone through the user’s needs in “empathize” stage and analyzed them in the “Define” stage to come up with a problem that is user-centered.
With solid research in the first two steps, you and your team member can start to “think outside of the box” to find an optimal solution to the problem you have captured.
You can take help of thousands of ideation techniques available, some of them are:
- Worst possible solution
These techniques can help you stimulate freestyle thinking and expand your reach on problems.
At this stage, the design team gets active and starts building some rough, inexpensive, and scale down versions of the desired product. The prototype developed will have limited features and help to examine the problem captured in the previous stages.
Prototype will be tested and shared with the team members and other responsible persons in the organization. The aim of developing a prototype is to identify the best possible solutions to the problems detected in the above three stages.
This stage involves testing different functionality and select, reject, or re-examined them based on their importance.
By the end of this stage, designers will have a better picture of the constraints and problem that are present and how users will feel and behave while intersecting with the product
“Test” is the final and crucial step of the design thinking process. During this stage, designers work rigorously to test the product to come up with the best possible solution captured in the prototype stage.
Though this is the final step yet it’s an iterative process. Results obtained during this phase can be used to refine the product and its functionality.
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