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Principles of Design Thinking Process

Design thinking is a process to identify a problem and find a real-life optimum solution through an iterative design process. " The mission of design thinking is to translate observations into insights and insights into products and services that will improve lives". The process of Design Thinking is user-centered, iterative, data-based, action-oriented and elastic.

“In short, design thinking converts need into demand. It’s a human-centered approach to problem-solving that helps people and organizations become more innovative and creative.” – Tim Brown, CEO, and President of IDEO.


Five stages of Design Thinking


The Five stages of Design thinking

Design Thinking is a five-stage process but these five stages are not always sequential. They appear to be in a straightforward process but Designing is an iterative process so you have to come back to the previous stage again and again or sometimes work on two stages parallelly to get the optimal design solutions.


1). Empathize

The first step of design thinking is to deeply understand the problem. So you have to empathize the problem that you are trying to solve. You think from the perspective of the user by keeping aside your own assumptions and perceptions. This stage shows that Design Thinking is a user-centered approach, Everything should be designed by keeping in mind the user.

Here is the stepwise approach to the Empathize process:

  • Explore your audience, your design solutions are going to impact

  • Do a Why-Why analysis of the problem to identify the key drivers behind the user's belief and behavior.

  • Observe watch and listen to the people around you and record their behavior about the challenge(who, what, how and why). You’ll try to figure out what people are doing and why they’re doing it without actively Interacting with them.

  • Gather the data about the challenge from your community. You can find out what real people are doing with the challenge concerned. This can be accomplished using a variety of methods including surveys, sensors, and observation.

  • You can conduct a full-scale interview, like in why-why analysis but now you have to see the broad mindset of people focusing on the challenge.

2). Define

In Define stage we analyze the data collected in the Empathize stage and synthesize it to define the actual problem that you and your team have identified up to this point. You have to define an use centered Need statement followed by steps given:

Download the information that you have collected on paper, board, sticky notes, etc. and then collect them into cellular groups.

Place the information in the Empathy Map. It helps designers unpack their observations from the Understand phase of the design process with a focus on the feelings and behaviors of users.

A Need statement is a method used for uour broad challenge to confide it into a very narrow statement so that you can work on them. It looks like:

User(be specific) needs to_________________

Need(action verb) because________________.


3). Ideate

In the third stage of Ideation the Designers are ready to generate new ideas. Now you have an understanding of what user wants in the need statement and you also know the value of that need for the user, So with this background in mind, you and your team can think of creative, innovative and out of the box ideas to get the desired Design Solutions.

  • You’ll create a “How Might We” statement, a tool that helps designers launch brainstorming sessions. The first step to help transition from understanding users to generating ideas is to translate your Needs Statements into How Might We statements. The purpose of a How Might We (HMW) statement is to reframe what you’ve learned about your users’ needs as a generative, actionable question for brainstorming. A good HMW will enable you to come up with a wide variety of answers.

  • Now you’ll begin to brainstorm potential solutions to the design challenge using a set of brainstorming rules.

  • You have to expand your brainstorming by seeking inspiration from analogous situations; that is, situations that are different from the challenge you're solving but may have solutions you could learn from.

  • You should know several tactics to evaluate your potential solutions and choose one idea to move forward with. you’ll narrow your many ideas into a handful of promising solutions, and then choose one to move forward with into the next phase of the design process. For some projects. this can be easy; perhaps there’s been an idea that’s stood out to you from the very beginning. Other projects can leave you with dozens of potentially viable ideas. That’s fine, too. If you’re experiencing a little choice paralysis, remember that design thinking is rarely a perfectly linear process. You may end up coming back to your list of ideas several times before you settle on a final solution. For now, your goal will be to decide what to move forward with first.

4). Prototype and Test

A Prototype is a first, typical or preliminary model. They help us identify the strength and weakness of our idea by user feedback. They are inexpensive, scaled down versions of the product or specific features found within the product and are used to investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage. Prototypes are of two types first is Conceptual prototypes which represents an idea, are cheaper and easy to make. others are Working prototypes are functioning versions of ideas but they are expensive and time-consuming.

But Remember Prototype is not for you, it is for your users. So, Feedback is very important.


5). Refine

In Refine process you check that if your design solution has met your need statement. alterations and refinements are made in this phase order to rule out problem solutions and derive as deep an understanding of the product and its users as possible.


Design thinking is an iterative process

The five stages mentioned here are not always sequential. Mostly in Refine stage, you'll get to know the loopholes in the design solution that you have to correct and then repeat the process and do a number of iterations. These phases don't even follow a specific order and can often occur parallelly and can be repeated iteratively. The approach to Design Thinking can vary from project to project but the basic idea remains the same.


References: Principles of Design Thinking- Autodesk Design Academy

https://academy.autodesk.com/course/122979/principles-design-thinking



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