As human-centered designers we need to understand who we are designing for. Through observation and research we can gain insights into what our users need and want. When observation isn’t enough, we bring people to the table and engage with them directly to explore their values, challenges, and pain points. Research and gathering insights continues through the process and new findings are factored in as we move into iteration and prototyping.
Once we’ve gathered the insights as thoroughly as possible, we synthesize our discoveries and find focus to create an actionable problem statement that will guide the rest of the process. Understanding the real, meaningful challenge rather than the perceived problem is fundamental in creating a solution that works. Sometimes we move past this stage and need to revisit it to redefine the problem when we discover something new — all part of the process!
This is where we think big. We approach each challenge with a beginner’s mindset to uncover unexpected areas of exploration, get obvious solutions out of our heads, and utilize the collective perspectives of our diverse team and yours. No evaluation just yet (we’ll get there) - this phase of the Design Thinking process is all about divergent thinking.
Now we take the ideas from our heads and get them into our hands. We jot down notes, evaluate our ideas, create sketches, and build models quickly and nimbly to investigate many different possibilities. Through iteration, we’re able to deepen our understanding of our users, explore and test what could work and what might not, and draw inspiration from our collaborators.
We deploy, test,
Once we’ve decided on a direction, we refine our prototypes and solutions and put them out into the world. Sometimes testing reveals that we didn’t get it right or that we didn’t define the problem correctly in the first place, so we may need to revisit the definition, ideation, iteration, and potentially even the research phases again.