Design Thinking, the user-centric design approach for solving problems under a specified set of constraints, is taking the world by storm. It is an unhindered methodology allowing the design team to consider the problem in different ways and work on many possible solutions at once. Incorporating analytical, synthetic, divergent and convergent thinking, it creates multiple potential solutions and narrows them down to arrive at the best solution.
The Design Thinking Process
The process of Design Thinking as first proposed by Herbert A Simon consists of five steps that designers use to arrive at meaningful solutions.
This stage is about understanding the user and the problems by conducting interviews with users, listening to their stories, and creating empathy maps.
Here, the research information is organised and analysed to identify the problem and the possible solution or hypothesis.
In this stage, the brainstorming takes place where possible multiple ideas are generated and possible solutions are thought of and evaluated.
The fourth stage involves turning ideas into a physical reality of the product, adding details and complexities step by step as designers move between testing and iteration.
Finally, the prototype is put in the user’s hand to test and see whether it solves their problem. Based on feedback, there could be repeated adjustments for product functionality.
Design Thinking in IT
Design Thinking can turn new emerging technologies into user-friendly services and products as it embraces the fast-paced and sometimes, creative change of technology, positively.
Design Thinking’s agile, iterative process of approaching design and innovation with the focus on users’ needs and wants, enables a company to keep up as technology evolves and changes. Design thinking while offering multiple ways of problem solving also encourages questioning, experimenting, and innovating in an environment that encourages employees to challenge traditions, embraces diverse opinions and ideas and facilitates smart calculated risks.
With the advantages it offers, the use of design thinking in the IT industry has grown tremendously and today a lot top companies like Infosys have made it compulsory for their employees all over the globe to learn design thinking and get certified as a design thinker.
Design Thinking is the most significant method today in the process of software development, targeting the exact customer needs. The solution also has the flexibility of getting modified as per the client’s feedback, in an iteration process.
Design Thinking plays a crucial role in IT solutions and there are several benefits like
- The solutions are prototyped and the best solution accepted
- The solutions are experienced by the client before approval
- Fast feedback helps the designers and developers
- There is scope for short iterations to improve the user experience
- The results are verified
- The teams are small and cross-functional
- Incremental delivery is possible
The tangible advantages of using Design Thinking for software development in detail are
- Practicability check
Design thinking makes it possible for software development companies to check the feasibility of the future product and its functionality at the initial stage itself. It also helps to keep in mind the end users’ needs, with clear specifications of all requirements and then translate all this into features of the product.
- No sudden alarms
Once the prototype is tested and feedback gathered feedback from users, the team can securely and confidently proceed to the product development. This helps to make sure that there is little or no difference between the approved concept and the final product.
- Clarity and transparency
The design thinking approach which is based on clear transparent end goals enables the designers and developers to see the final goal, then clearly understand the challenges and have a detailed image of the solution they have to ultimately deliver.
- Continuous improvement
Though the design thinking approach makes sure the best solution is delivered, there is still scope for modifying the product after its release based on user feedback.
This is a huge advantage as after a product’s launch, as it becomes clear what features work and what may not, how the product can be enhanced and what suggestions can be incorporated. This allows for continuous improvement and the process of software development becomes flexible and smooth
Finally, with a growing need for new way of thinking and doing, it is Design Thinking that is taking the world that way with a clear structure that makes people comfortable with trying out new things. Because, at its heart is the intention to create easy innovative solutions to boosts growth, build revenue and improve user experiences.
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