What is design thinking? Prioritizing consumers’ needs and solving problems is the top priority of the design thinking process. Now when we concentrate on this sentence we immediately realize how it relates so deeply to product development and design. Product making or designing is directly related to consumer needs and to make lifestyle easier, better and smarter.
Design thinking questions the problem, questions the assumptions and questions the implications. Consequently, design thinking is a powerful tool in tackling all kinds of challenges that are ill-defined or complex, by reframing the problem in human-centric ways. Design thinking has 5 phases:
Ideate and Collaborate
We live in a world where 95% of products are poorly designed. Be it industrial or digital products, once you separate the art and aesthetics of a product from the design and reasoning behind it, for a product to be really worth buying, and for the user to really find value in it, the user and their needs must be carefully considered throughout the cycle of product development. This approach is commonly known as the design thinking process.
The process starts with choosing and understanding a target user. At this stage, all the needs of the user are identified through multiple rounds of primary and secondary research and tools such as persona generation. The primary objective of the designer is to develop empathy towards the user and their needs, and to know firsthand the problems and issues that might be faced by them. This leads us to the second step- defining the problem and mapping out the available choices.
Once the brief has been defined, it sets up the stage for ideation and for the activity conventionally known as “design”. Here, the designer tries out various ideas and solutions and compares them against each other to identify which one fulfills the brief in an optimal, efficient and cost-effective manner. One should have clear constraints for our solutions as well as to highlight possibilities that would have been in the designer’s blind spot otherwise.
Finally, once a solution or a product has been shortlisted, the next step is to prototype and test out the solution in a real world scenario with a model user so that the feedback can be obtained and the design can be reiterated if needed.
Although not all projects follow this exact order and oftentimes there is quite a bit of hopping in between the steps, making sure all the bases are covered ensures that the product is developed to its maximum potential and such that it really fulfills a user’s needs in the best way possible. A well developed product speaks for itself as the design process ensures that through iteration and testing, most of the issues and needs are actually resolved for the end user. Which is how the design thinking process enhances product development for the end user and makes the process simpler for the designer.