Behind the Closed Door of Design Thinking

It is time to switch into gear and turn on your vital mindsets that will guide you to success in the world of design thinking. Just follow these steps!

Empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test, are all major support groups and processes that will help you excel as a design thinker. The first major point discussed will be empathize.

What is Empathize?

We are all human-centered designers. When we are launching a product or even just an idea we always have an audience or user in mind. To successfully and properly design for our users, we must build empathy to provide exactly what is wanted in their minds. to create this we must place ourselves in their shoes. What is our user thinking, feeling, and wanting? This is where we have the opportunity to take advantage of engaging directly with a user to reveal indirect thoughts and values that are extremely beneficial to your design process.

Methods of Empathizing

There are many ways to achieve the goal and empathizing right along side of our consumers. Just with physical interaction, and experience with people, you can can interpret a lot by what they say and do. This allows us to uncover a hidden insight dig deeper.

Useful methods

  • User Camera Study- This allows the designer to understand our users lives from the perspective of behind a camera, acting as the users eyes. This method can also place you in environments you may have limited access to.
  • Interview- A lot can be revealed by a simple conversation and interaction through a user-guided conversation. Use this opportunity to engage and dig deeper with your user. Create a friendly and free flowing conversation and come with engaging, meaningful questions.

What is Define?

Here is where we are going to take apart a puzzle and interpret each piece in depth as its own whole. We are trying to develop a deeper understanding of our users and our potential design. This method lets us re-frame and define our ideas in human-centric ways to keep excelling. Our point of view comes in during this design process. Using your personal understandings, your point of view will act as a guiding statement focusing on particular users.

Methods of Defining

  • What? How? Why? Method- This method helps drive to a deeper meaning of observation. You will use each word and make it a column of a chart and fill it to observe certain situations in a more defining, abstract way.
  • 2 X 2 Matrix- This tool helps unravel your thoughts and problems during your synthesis process. Here you can define relationships, similarities and differences in a 2x2 matrix. It shows great visual content and clearly shows where a broken relationship may occur.

What is Ideate?

This is the design thinking step that allows the designer to reach and explore beyond the margins. Here we can unravel a hidden and unexpected idea or truth and step beyond the boundaries of obvious. Ideate allows the designer to increase the innovation potential and create more volume and variety in your options.

Ways to Improve this process

  • Engage with extreme users- This method allows you to flare your knowledge and broaden your user connections. Here you can find inspiration through their amplified needs and experiences as well. You will want to connect with an extreme user that connect to your design idea directly and you will be gearing your design to the most. This is because it will most likely turn out that an extreme users needs are also needs of a wider group or population as well.
  • Story Share-and-Capture- This method allows a team to compare and share their thoughts and information on a topic. Everyone interprets things differently, so this is where one can turn an experience into a more meaningful, deeper one, through everyone’s separate observations. Let each user share their experience and be a good note taker.

What is Prototype?

This is the step where your ideas and words get put to action into a physical form. Prototypes give you a hands on approach to your idea. This can be anything from a wall of post it notes, to a 3-D model of what you want your product to resemble. This is something that should not take up too much time but act as a rough draft or brainstorming. Prototypes provide a sense of interaction that helps you learn, explore and get inspired in a different form. This is the step where disagreements can be solved, are allowed to show failure and explore.

Methods of Prototyping?

  • Saturate and Group- This is your space to unravel your thoughts into a tangible and visual space. By saturating an entire wall space with post it notes, pictures, etc., you will be able to visualize patterns, pieces of a whole idea and themes. Here is a great place to find inspiration and a deeper connection as well.
  • Journey Map- this is a systematic method to show progress and steps that have led you to your great ideas, and observations. This can be helpful for your empathy process or prototype, depending on your design idea. To start you will make a timeline diagram and as your consider your journey, you will capture the most important steps and moments along the way. This method provides great organization skills as well.

What is Test Mode?

Test mode is the opportunity to refine and get feedback on your idea and/or product. You have developed your prototype and now it is time to find our solutions to the problem and to always find ways to make it better. This mode lets you solve problems and make your product excel even more. The test mode is a great learning experience and can gain more insight of your observations. Most of the time, this is where unexpected failure comes about, yielding something most unexpected. Based on your design idea and product, you would appropriately test it. A helpful hint is to let a user test it out to get a different point of view other than the creators. The creators may know the ins and outs of a certain product, but handing it over to a potential user could bring about more beneficial advice and solutions.

Time to Wrap it Up

This design thinking process presented is strongly focused on your interaction between the designer and the user. By no means does this process have to be linear and step by step. They will be switched around, repeated and be trial and error many times, and that is the beauty of it. Our goal is to bring ideas to life, with our users in mind at all times to create success.

Lets Learn More!