From Design Thinking to Agile UX Design Sprints, Still Intangible?

Design Thinking

When talking about Design Thinking, most people, I mean designers, would be familiar with the following image: Divergent to Convergent. Honestly, it was confusing for me when I first came to America, and started learning Design Thinking almost 3 years ago. I thought of all these mental activities intangible, and think of UX Design should be more practical or theoretical than that.

Actually it is Logical When tracing back to the history of Design Thinking. while I am not really interested in digging the history in whatever form (I bet you the same). While I just want to mention that Design Thinking was originally based on science, technology and rationalism, to overcome the human and environmental problems that he believed could not be solved by politics and economics”
– Nigel Cross

History Overview of Design Thinking

Make sense? Yes! At least I start to understand its logics even there is still a long way to learn how to effectively apply design thinking into UX Design, especially in Agile industry world.

Agile Design Sprints

Talking about Agile Design Sprints, which has several iterations such as Google Venture-style Design Sprint by Jake Knapp.

We all know Agile means quick and efficient. The way to solve a complex problem no matter in a startup company or a big company, this method is all widely used and applied. From my experience, I think the essential of “Agile” falls to your choice.

It’s tired to talk about design process which starts from “research”?And obviously, I don’t think so. The most efficient process won’t follow one restricted discipline. And most likely, it starts for Hypothesis and Assumptions.

Here comes the question…Once having a great idea (assumption), how to validate and make it come true? For either one, we have to talk about “convergent design thinking activity” . Several metrics can be used in in convergent design phrase. Such as “Red Route”, which is based on “frequency” and “user amount”. It is practical especially when you want to add a feature in your design or to prioritize one or two key functions. While before using this, you definitely have to understand user group and user story for this product. Red Route helps facilitating decision making. Also, in the case that you must meet a certain timeline, you can identify one highest risk design problem that happens most frequent and affects most users by applying Red Route.

Think small is essential in Agile UX Design, and it is all about designing and iterating MVP(minimum viable product)!

“As you consider building your own minimum viable product, let this simple rule suffice: remove any feature, process, or effort that does not contribute directly to the learning you seek.” — Eric Ries

So far, Design Thinking or Agile UX Design Sprints, neither of them is intangible. They all have a certain rules to follow or respect. Still there are so many details to talk about when applying the Sprint. A good UX Designer is just the one can use the method in a smart and efficient way.