According to the Interaction Design Foundation, Design Thinking is “a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions to prototype and test.” Similarly, IDEO.com identify design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation—anchored in understanding customer’s needs, rapid prototyping and generating creative ideas—that will transform the way you develop products, services, processes, and organizations.”
There are five stages that make up the design thinking process that can be addressed in any order.
Stage 1: Empathize (to put yourself in someone else’s shoes)
This stage allows you to set aside your own opinions, needs and assumptions and truly understand what a user needs from a product or service.
Stage 2: Define (accumulate and reflect on the empathize stage)
This stage allows the team to gather all their information from stage one and define problems and needs through statements and customer personas.
Stage 3: Ideate (challenge assumptions and brainstorm ideas)
The team now needs to challenge the information they have gathered and brainstorm alternative solutions and ideas to benefit their product and users.
Stage 4: Prototype (create, create, create)
Rough drafts of the product need to be provided by the team after identifying the best solutions for the problem.
Stage 5: Test the solution
The team need to repeatedly test out the final solutions and product while making further improvements and alterations.
“Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.”- Don Norman
Companies of all shapes and sizes, who have an online presence, are constantly having to adjust to technology and innovation by improving their user experience online and ultimately stay competitive.
One of my personal favorite examples of good design can be found in the MyFitnessPal app. I’ve used the app in recent years to track my caloric intake (we’ve let this year slide), to encourage a healthy lifestyle. The app has an easy-to-use barcode search tool so that users can scan a store bought, packaged food barcode, and be met with all the nutritional information they need without having to manually search for each individual ingredient. This not only saves time but can be incredibly attractive to those that are reluctant to track accuracy due to effort.Apple are another company who are continuously looking for new ways to improve their products and UX design. Their Apple maps Parked Car feature is a fantastic example. POV: you’re in an unfamiliar part of town and you’ve forgotten exactly where you’ve parked your car. Apple maps, helps pinpoint exactly where you last left your car and then can provide directions to that exact location. According to appleinsider.com, “while using Apple Maps for directions in iOS 10, a user’s iPhone will remember a vehicle’s location at the end of a trip. This is done automatically for a trip that does not end at the user’s home address. It’s safe to say that this smart feature has saved my life during some of my least proud moments.
Waze is another example that my classmate Erin informed me of. I haven’t personally used Waze but after researching into what the app entails, I’m sure to download it soon. She explained that “the app is designed to cater to the user and address their needs as drivers. The way the app is intuitive enough to re-route you based on closed roads, accidents, and heavy traffic is invaluable. I also think it was smart to develop a navigation app based on users’ real-time routes and user-generated updates.”
These are just a few examples of design-thinking and how companies can in-fact listen to their users and provide the best solutions to make life that little bit easier. I can’t wait to see what is available to me as a user in the future.
Temple Student: Erin Mihalik