Products should meet the needs of users. It is no different in the IT industry, which bases software development on understanding the needs of the audience. From our article you will learn the function of Design Thinking, what it is and how the method works in IT projects.
Design Thinking – what is it?
Design Thinking is a method by which a design team can better understand user needs and problems. It represents a structured approach to product development and innovation. The very process of analyzing the needs and problems of the recipients is complex and requires assembling a team of specialists with different specialties. The interdisciplinary team includes technologists, marketing specialists, engineers, designers and even sociologists.
All of them, using tools and techniques, try to implement the optimal solutions of the Design Thinking method in the design stages. The goal of creating projects in the ideology of Design Thinking is to obtain solutions that are in line with the expectations and needs of customers, technologically feasible, economically viable.
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Main tenets of Design Thinking
What is Design Thinking based on? The method includes three assumptions:
1. analysis of the user’s needs – it concerns both his conscious and unconscious needs.
2. out-of-the-box solutions – Design Thinking at its core is about looking at a problem from multiple perspectives. Combining the work of specialists with different specialties makes it possible to find new solutions and go beyond the usual patterns.
3. experimentation and testing method – this involves building prototypes and drawing conclusions from testing and user feedback.
Design Thinking – stages of the process
What is the process of Design Thinking project implementation? The different stages help to better understand the actions of specialists and their intentions. Here are the different phases of the project:
The Design Thinking process begins with empathy, or a deep understanding of the user’s needs and problems. At this stage, the most important thing is to recognize his motivations and difficulties, which affect behavior and choices. To understand the recipient, specialists use empathy maps, needs research, ethnographic interviews, exploratory surveys and environmental analysis. In order to keep this process highly efficient, activities are most often discrete and observation-oriented.
The second stage of the Design Thinking process is the synthesis of the information gathered earlier. Defining the problem requires breaking out of one’s own frame of mind and being open to other perspectives. It takes time and analytical thinking to draw conclusions from research. For better results, researchers use problem re-framing, problem mapping, 5x why, and how vs why?
When the problem has been properly defined, you can proceed to the next step. In Design Thinking, this stage is called idea generation and is nothing more than popular brainstorming. In this phase, a background in content and the courage to generate new ideas are crucial. It is worth using colored cards at this stage, which, stuck to the wall, can represent the created vision. The process requires distance from one’s own ideas and flexibility.
The next point is to build prototypes. This is nothing more than the creation of complex models to resemble the final product. The most important thing in building prototypes is to visually present the model to the audience and gather feedback on the idea. Often it turns out that prototypes do not meet their objectives and fall short of customer expectations. Nevertheless, their creation saves the finances needed to create the final version of the product.
The final stage of the Design Thinking method is testing. In this phase, the solution is tested in the user environment where it will realistically work. Testing requires the support of the technical, administrative, legal and management environment. During testing, there is no room to unravel complexities, only to check the finished product. After passing the tests, it can be implemented and put into daily use. Testing the product in action allows us to draw definitive conclusions and answer the question of whether it meets customer expectations.
Will Design Thinking work in IT projects?
Entrepreneurs are considering introducing Design Thinking as a method in IT product development. Design thinking has a gigantic future, and it has worked very well in the IT industry. Nowadays, the ideology is used in many companies, from the automotive industry to software development corporations. The solution is also used by software houses that use Design Thinking to plan, develop and test applications and their individual functionalities.
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What do you gain by choosing Design Thinking in IT?
It is worthwhile to possess knowledge about Design Thinking – what it is and what the process of project implementation looks like. The method is interesting because of a number of advantages that affect the final result of the work. Some of the biggest pluses of design thinking include:
– Using the full potential of the team – the intermingling of knowledge from different fields results in positive ideas and effective solutions to problems.
– Look from a new perspective – Design Thinking allows you to accurately analyze the needs of your audience and create an optimal solution to meet customer expectations.
– exact fit for the customer – detailed process steps allow to match the product to the vision and eliminate errors, through a series of tests and prototyping.
– gaining knowledge – once the project is completed, the team can continue to measure results and analyze user behavior. In this way, each subsequent project can be even more refined.
Design Think can also be combined with Agile methodology. In this way, companies can study the needs of users and work efficiently to accomplish established tasks.