Design Thinking in Simple Words

It is well known that there is a great variety of methodologies and frameworks in the world of design and technology. These facilitate the work of professionals when carrying out their processes. Whether it is to enhance creativity, maximize time or obtain the most significant possible number of results, these tools are a must in the day-to-day life of the IT sector professional.

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Specifically for User Experience Design (or just UX Design), a methodology stands out among the others due to its effectiveness and practice, called Design Thinking. This design methodology has its origins in the time of the industrial revolution (1960). The technological boom of the last decades was optimized and rethought for use in developing online products and services.

The objective of Design Thinking is to discover the user’s actual needs concerning a system or service, and based on this, to be able to offer the best possible solution. The particular thing about Design Thinking is that to execute it is necessary for addition to creativity and innovation, a lot of empathy and a good disposition towards the user.

This methodology is quite practical, but it also proposes a challenge: applying the inherent product design techniques while always keeping the user in mind as the protagonist. Therefore, this tool needs a lot of listening skills and kindness to understand the user, evaluate their frustrations, and facilitate each of their actions to create a service tailored to their needs.

The Design Thinking process is carried out based on the following stages:

1.- Empathize:

UX designers and researchers must analyze their potential users well through data collection techniques and personalized interviews. During this process, the designer must put himself in the client’s shoes, analyze and see the whole panorama from the user’s perspective and not the company’s. In this way, it is safe to understand well these people’s real needs and problems to create consistent solutions later.

2.- Define:

The main problems and frustrations reported by users are filtered and ranked. Then, several aspects are chosen to evaluate under a focus of action. This will allow the creative team to generate ideas that lead to an interesting and innovative result.

3.- Ideate:

Excess information is filtered, and the ideas that most add value to both the product and the user are prioritized. However, it is the stage where it is most proposed, there are no limits, and every idea counts. As eccentric as an idea may be at first, it could produce the desired result.

4.- Prototype:

It is the stage where ideas become tangible. Prototyping allows us to visualize ideas better and, therefore, makes it easier for us to analyze and find solutions. Through prototyping, elements to improve and polish become evident before delivering a final result.

5.- Test:

Finally, the prototype is tested with users. These users will be the same ones who represent our target audience. This phase is decisive since it allows us to observe whether or not the proposed solutions meet the users’ needs. These people also generate valuable feedback to correct bugs, add or remove elements, and identify opportunities for a new prototype iteration. All this will lead to obtaining the ideal product that provides the solution you are looking for.

Although Design Thinking comprises these five phases, the process does not end here. The UX Designer’s job is to continue empathizing, testing and iterating the product whenever required to evolve alongside users and emerging technologies.

For all this and more, today, this methodology represents the spearhead for many user experience designers. However, if Design Thinking overlaps with other techniques and team dynamics, alternatives and solutions can be discovered that provide added value to users, companies and the digital community in general.

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