Design thinking is a problem-solving approach based on empathy – understanding and compassionate thinking about the people the design is for and how their needs and goals influence their experience with a product. During the design thinking process, designers (and other UX and UI specialists) gather insights and develop new ideas, design prototypes, and test solutions they came up with to see if they fixed the issues they faced. People use design thinking to create new products, services, or experiences that people will enjoy. It's used in many industries as you can apply it to both physical and digital products.
Design thinking should be a part of every product design process. It enhances user experience as human-centred thinking ensures that the product, service, or experience is more satisfying to the users. It also increases the chances of innovation: experimentation, creativity, and out-of-the-box thinking are all crucial during the process and can lead to more inventive and successful solutions to problems. Both potential and existing issues are also far better understood and approached from many different perspectives.
Design thinking also helps your team work better – brainstorming sessions encourage teamwork and allow stakeholders with different areas of expertise to collaborate on effective, user-friendly, and well-functioning ideas. It leads to a more efficient development stage as specific solutions are tested and iterated early in the process before they evolve into complex challenges that are expensive to take care of.
Finally, design thinking brings greater business success as it can result in higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as enhanced financial performance for companies, by designing goods, services, or experiences that are meaningful and relevant to users.
The first rule of design thinking is to empathise with the user. Try to fully understand who they are, what drives them, and what they need. Experiment and prototype different solutions to evaluate whether your ideas and assumptions work for the users and adapt them according to the feedback. And keep in mind that design thinking is most beneficial when diverse people are involved. A different perspective, experience, and expertise make design thinking more effective, so encourage people to communicate openly within the team.
So what should you avoid during the design thinking process? Design thinking is based on empathy and experimentation, so don't assume you know the solution, but let the process guide you. While getting too caught up with the details isn't good, you also shouldn't ignore them. All your designs should be well-prepared. And don't forget to test your experimental designs. Use the feedback you get from testing and iterate them into their best version yet.
Design thinking is more than just thinking; it's an approach to the design process that helps keep humans at its centre. At Flying Bisons, we always encourage design thinking within all our project teams which is why our designs check all the boxes: they're beautiful to look at and enjoyable to use.