Design thinking is a way of developing products, services, and experiences that are user-friendly and user-centered.
Design thinking is one of the most effective ways of solving business problems and aligning the end product with the requirements of the user as closely as possible. It’s a way of thinking or a mindset as opposed to a linear problem-solving process, which makes it dynamic and more suited for the challenges of business 4.0
Every industry has realized the potential of design thinking in elevating their overall user experience index and the quality of their products. Industries like entertainment, consumables, hospitality, technology, and banking have switched to design thinking.
Let us take a look at what design thinking constitutes.
There are 5 primary stages associated with design thinking:
- Empathy:Empathising with the user is the first and the most important step in design thinking. It involves stepping into the user's shoes to gain an insight into their needs and expectations, removing all preconceived notions. It makes sure that any bias or assumptions do not hamper the product.
- Definition of the problem: A thorough understanding and analysis help to establish a coherent definition of the problem. This definition is fundamental to design thinking. The problem is divided into subsections and each of them is clearly defined by assessing the data and information collected during the first stage.
- Ideation:After requirement gathering and analysis is over, the designers, developers, architects, and the entire team brainstorm to arrive at the best possible solutions. The ideation process in design thinking is different from other brainstorming sessions because they welcome unusual ideas and critical suggestions because it paves the way for answers and newer discoveries that invariably help to make the end product better.
- Prototyping:This stage involves experimentation, wireframing, and development. The team builds prototypes based on the solutions agreed upon during the ideation stage. They design the prototypes in quick iterations. The team follows a fail-fast mechanism to eliminate non-useful features until they build a final successful prototype.
- Testing: The testing stage involves rigorous testing of the products developed. The designers perform testing on multiple levels, testing all aspects of the products, ranging from functionalities to aesthetics and any other test case developed in consultation with the users. Designers rigorously test the product using the best solutions. However, since design thinking is not a linear process, this stage is also used to redefine re problem or make certain changes to the developed solution.
Now that we have understood the basics of Design thinking, let us take a look at the importance and benefits of design thinking:
- Design thinking is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary It ensures that the entire team’s perspective is taken into consideration. People with different skill sets come together to solve a problem making the solution multi-faceted and well-rounded. For Example, A developer will provide inputs regarding the limitation or feasibility related to technology whereas a finance executive will weigh in on the cost aspects of a proposed solution.
- There is continued interaction with the user and the other stakeholders. The user also provides valuable feedback and insights. This increases both productivity and user satisfaction.
- Fail fast mechanism is one of the highlights of design thinking. It enables the developers to build, test, and discard features if required. This saves a lot of costs that would otherwise be involved if the developers built the entire product in one go and then performed the testing. Design thinking also ensures Continuous Deployment and Agile deliveries.
- The most important benefit of the entire exercise called the Design Thinking is unparalleled user experience and User Interaction. The step by step process of building a product that involves the user in every step ensures elevated experience for the user. The user knows the genesis of the product and gives valuable feedback to improve the end product. User interaction ensures a reduction in error percentage and the amount of rework required.
Hence, we can safely conclude that design thinking is not just a way forward; it is the only way forward. It is an answer to multiple User acceptance and experience questions and a significant upgrade on existing or slowly disappearing waterfall method solutions.