Design Thinking Meaning:
In simple terms, Design Thinking is a framework that puts user needs at the core of any product development.
The IT Industry today, is trying to build strong relations with their customers and putting efforts to receive ongoing feedback from them, while design thinking with its user-centered approach helps businesses to achieve their goals. Product developers, be it from any industry, focus first on users and their needs and elaborate solutions to effectively meet those needs.
This approach focuses on a solution rather than a problem. Relevant advice: put yourself in your clients’ shoes.
Design thinking is all about iterative processing when you test one idea and see whether it is a Solution that will address the users’ problem. But first things first: what exactly is the design thinking process?
Design Thinking Is Not About Design Only
The word ‘design’ in the name of the concept design thinking can be a little misleading. Design thinking may refer to any area: from the manufacturing industry to software development – and is appropriate for all stages of building a product.
Let’s take the example of the software development process. Design thinking, in easy terms, can be applied at each stage of the software development lifecycle, be it planning, development, or testing, including design. But why is design thinking so vital for software product design and development? Let’s analyze design thinking at a stage of the software development life cycle.
Design Thinking Examples:
Also Read: How to use Design Thinking in Education
Design Thinking at the software designing stage
Have you ever thought why do IT industry professionals try so hard to make each detail in product design perfect and think over the colors of Call to action buttons?
The prime example that is mentioned above is the color of a button. “But this is a very minor detail!” you might say. In practice, this is an important factor since it determines whether users will use your product or not.
Sometimes users cannot instantly find a button they are looking for and then two scenarios can come into the picture: 1) annoyed, they close your app; 2) they spend a lot of time trying to find the button they need. Both the cases are not at all good for you. And both of them means that the customer’s problem was not taken into account at the design stage.
Design thinking at this stage allows the IT Industry to avoid problems like this. When you have a thorough understanding of what the customer’s problem is (the defined step) you can suggest solutions to this problem (the ideate step) and finally choose the best design and create the best possible one for all product elements. As a result, end customers do not get confused when they use your product and eventually turn into your loyal customers.
On the other hand, design thinking is a powerful tool that through specific design enables organizations to make users do what they want. All the same button colors may encourage users to take an action you need them to, for example, subscribe to the newsletter or request a trial of your product. You can look at prominent browser notifications: when, for example, a media website you visit offers to instantly notify you of important news. One button says (allow), clicking which you agree to receive push notifications. Another one is the No, thanks (block) button.
We are used to the fact that the green color usually means consent, while color red means the dissent. As some red sign says that something is forbidden, a red button says that we disagree to receive push notifications from the website. The trick is that some media websites put the Yes on the red button. Thus, one who does not want to get bogged down in spam, intuitively click the red button to turn off the notifications, but, instead, start to receive them.
Do you think it is unfair?
However, imagine that it turns out that the news we get every day/week is really useful to us but we were skeptical about it earlier. Or we start receiving weekly emails about brand-new products from our favorite online website and find the amazing offers on it! These are just a few examples that show the actual power of design thinking in software design. Speaking of buttons, color is not the one parameter that matters. Size, shape, location, order, and beyond are things to keep in mind. Buttons are just the tip of the iceberg.
Design Thinking at the software development stage
Now let us take a look at design thinking at another stage of software development life cycle – development itself. Take a simple example: mobile shopping app development.
In some startups in the IT industry, where there are no UX designers and data scientists, business owners, or sometimes software developers are assumed to do their functions. To build a great product, they go deep into the problems of customers and look at each feature with users’ eyes.
When it is about e-commerce shopping, it is much more convenient to use a mobile app, rather than wait for a page to load in a browser. The problem is that many e-commerce apps are a little misleading, for example, to find a product customers need, they have to wander endlessly through multiple sections and scroll down long pages.
With the help of a design thinking approach, developers pass all stages, from empathy to testing, and provide users a solution that would search for products as fast and convenient as possible. By carefully considering all the elements, developers arrange the elements logically and do everything to make the customer journey as comfortable as possible.
Benefits of design thinking in software development (IT Industry)
Below you can find the key advantages that design thinking brings to the table in the IT industry-
- Feasibility check
Design thinking can enable software development organizations to test the feasibility of the future product and its functionality at a very initial stage. With Design Thinking methods they keep end-user needs in mind, clearly specify all requirements, and translate all this into product features.
- No alarms and no surprises
Once you tested your product and gathered feedback from the customers, the team can confidently proceed to the product development. You can be quite sure that there will be little or no difference between the approved concept and the final version of the product.
- Clarity and transparency
With the help of Design thinking, software developers can clearly understand the end goals and problems that users might face and build a detailed vision of the solution that they should deliver.
- Continuous improvement
The product can be modified after its release when you get the users feedback. Now you can see it very clearly: which features work and which do not; how the product can be improved and what suggestions should be incorporated. This leaves a place for continuous enhancement and the software development process becomes flexible and smooth.
If you are looking to upskill and would like to learn more about design thinking, look no further and start with Stanford GSB Executive Education’s Design Thinking course in collaboration with Great Learning.0