A Digital Experience Agency

Design Thinking: A Beginners Guide

Despite popular belief, Design thinking isn’t just picking random colors and adding a sprinkle of shape here and there; in actuality it is a powerful and purposeful problem-solving approach. Design thinking provides a structured framework for tackling complex challenges and generating innovative solutions. It encourages a human-centered approach, focusing on understanding users’ needs and desires and then interactively developing and refining ideas through prototyping and testing. The process of design thinking is excellent when designing products, user experiences, and your website. Uncertain about the steps involved with design thinking? We’ve got you covered. Below is our beginner’s guide to design thinking.

Defining design thinking

Before we can dive into the process, let’s take a second to define design thinking. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, “design thinking is an ideology supported by an accompanying process.” Design thinking is a user-centric, hands-on approach to problem-solving and includes 3 steps and 6 phases.

  • Understand
    • Empathize
    • Define
  • Explore
    • Ideate
    • Prototype
  • Materialize
    • Test
    • Implement

The process of design thinking 

As mentioned above, the design thinking process has three steps and six phases. Each has a unique purpose to help conquer challenges and generate innovative solutions.

The first step in design thinking is understanding your users, which is done in two phases, empathizing and defining.

  • It all starts with empathizing with your users. To do this properly, you need to know them, and we mean know themYou should know who your customer is, what they want, and when they want it. This is done by completing research to help you learn the most about your user.
  • From there, move into defining your user’s problem. With the information you got from the empathize phase, you can begin unpacking the problem. Ask questions like what difficulties and barriers users are coming up against to help you pinpoint where their pain point is. IMPORTANT; don’t rush or speed past this phase and jump too quickly into finding the solution before truly understanding the problem, or you risk not allowing true design thinking to take place. Give yourself and your team time to fully understand the problem before moving on to figuring out a solution.

The next step in design thinking is exploring the results from understanding your users, which includes the following two phases.

  • Now we get into the fun part, ideating. Ideating is where you can flex your creativity as you develop ideas to help resolve the user’s problem. Brainstorm and create a list of possible solutions. Remember, no idea is a bad idea in this phase, be open to any/all ideas because even “bad or not feasible ideas” can lead to the perfect solution, so go into this phase with an open mind, ready and willing to hear all ideas.
  • From there, move into prototyping some of your ideas. These prototypes should include actual representations of your ideas so you can visually see how your users’ problems are solved.

The last step in design thinking is materializing, which entails testing and implementing your ideas.

  • Testing requires bringing your prototype to your users and getting real-time feedback. Allowing you to see if your solutions truly help solve your user’s problems and drive them to your end goal.
  • Now you implement. Implementing is arguably the most important step and involves turning your prototype into a reality, ensuring your solution for users is available to them.

In conclusion, design thinking offers a structured and user-centered approach to problem-solving that has proven to be highly effective. By understanding and empathizing with users, defining their problems, ideating innovative solutions, and prototyping and testing them, design thinking enables the creation of impactful and successful products, user experiences, and websites. By following the design thinking process, you can embark on a journey of discovery, creativity, and implementation, ultimately delivering solutions that meet users’ needs and desires. So, embrace design thinking and unleash the power of human-centered innovation. Still, trying to figure out where to start? Let our team of professionals help ensure the design thinking process is executed flawlessly for your next project.