Design thinking is an iterative and non-linear process that contains five phases:
Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.
Design thinking is an iterative process in which you seek to understand your users, challenge assumptions, redefine problems and create innovative solutions you can prototype and test. The goal is to identify alternative strategies and solutions that are not instantly apparent with your initial level of understanding.
Design thinking is more than just a process; it opens an entirely new way to think and offers a collection of hands-on methods to help you apply this new mindset.
In essence, design thinking:
1. It revolves around a deep interest in understanding the people we design products and services for.
2. It helps us observe and develop empathy with the target users.
3. Enhances our ability to question design thinking. You examine the problem, the assumptions, and the implications.
4. It proves extremely useful when you tackle ill-defined or unknown problems.
5. Involves ongoing experimentation through sketches, prototypes, testing, and trials of new concepts and ideas.
The “Double Diamond” Design Process
In the mid-2000s, the British Design Council popularized the Double Diamond diagram, based on Béla H. Bánáthy’s 1996 “divergence-convergence” model. The Double Diamond diagram graphically represents a design thinking process. It highlights the divergent and convergent styles of thinking involved and is broken down into four distinct phases:
Discover: The start of the project is based around an initial idea or inspiration, often gained from identifying user needs.
Define: These user needs are interpreted and aligned with business objectives.
Develop: Design-led solutions are developed, iterated, and tested.
Deliver: The end product or service is finalized and launched into the market.
The field of user experience has a wide range of research methods available, ranging from tried-and-true methods, such as lab-based usability testing, to those more recently developed, such as unmoderated UX assessments.
While using the complete set of methods on a given project is not realistic, nearly all projects would benefit from multiple research methods and combining insights. Unfortunately, many design teams use only one or two ways they are most familiar with. The critical question is what to use when. To better understand when to use which method, it is helpful to view them along a 3-dimensional framework with the following axes:
1. Attitudinal vs. Behavioral
2. Qualitative vs. Quantitative
3. Context of Use
The following chart illustrates where 20 popular methods appear along these dimensions:
Each dimension provides a way to distinguish among studies regarding the questions they answer and the purposes they are most suited for. We can use the methods in the middle of the quantitative-qualitative axis to gather qualitative and quantitative data.
I used Interviews, Surveys, and Card Sorting as a Freelancer. With Copart, I used Customer Feedback, Focus Group, Eyetracking (Heatmap), Analytics (Google Analytics), A/B Testing (Google Optimizer), and Usability Testing. Then with Appgate, I used Customer Feedback, Focus groups, surveys, Interviews, Cart Sorting, and Eyetracking (Heatmaps).
What Is a Task Flow?
A task flow is a diagram representing a user’s journey through a specific task. You can think of job flows as the DNA of content experience. Instead of viewing a single piece of content in isolation, a task flow allows you to consider how one piece of content connects to the next. These connections form the paths that users travel to arrive at their endpoint.
When creating user task flows, prioritize what matters most to your audience, not what matters most to you. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of top-performing B2B content marketers put their customers’ informational needs first. You can increase engagement, conversion, and brand awareness by putting their needs first.
Consider these questions to get a feel for your audience’s goals:
What are their starting points?
Why are they engaging with your brand?
What information are they hoping to find?
What action(s) do they want to complete?
How do their goals intersect with your brand’s objectives?
What are User Flows?
Designing pages for websites and applications don't always produce the best results. The design process separates the look, feel and process from what the user is trying to accomplish. An alternative approach to this kind of design is to design for user flows and thus focus on what the user needs to get done and how to deliver that in the most effective manner possible. This should lead to better user experiences as it places the user at the heart of the design process.
Instead of going through the technical specification documents and trying to base designs on that, we examine the user's objectives (or objectives) and the business's goals (or purposes).
So, for example, on a retail website, this might include:
The user wants to buy a new product
The user wants to research alternative products
The user wants to return a product
By mapping out all the possible objectives and comparing them to business objectives – it becomes easy to create user flows. Flows are simply the process steps from the user arriving on a website to completing their task or tasks.
What’s the difference?
The main difference between the product-centric and customer-centric models is the approach to the customer. While product-centric companies rely on creating and selling the best new products, customer-centric companies aim to analyze the customers’ needs by collecting valuable customer insights and feedback to create the best solutions for them.
There is also a difference in strategy between these two approaches. A product-centric company will rely on the product’s core features and functionality to sell. Success is measured by how well the product sells.
A customer-centric company will focus more on keeping its customers satisfied and building more long-term relationships with their customers. They measure the company’s success based on customer loyalty and their renewal, upsell, and referral rates.
The differences between the product-centric and customer-centric approaches are not limited to customers and strategy. Which method you prefer depends on your strategic goals.
The main goal of product-centric companies is to create the best product quality, regardless of the customer experience. On the other hand, the primary purpose of customer-centric companies is to create the best customer experience and meet customer demands.
Why does Website Accessibility Matter?
Ensuring web accessibility for people with disabilities is a priority for the Department of Justice. Inaccessible web content means that people with disabilities are denied equal access to information. An inaccessible website can exclude people just as much as steps at an entrance to a physical location recent years, many services have moved online, and people rely on websites like never before for all aspects of daily living. For example, accessing voting information, finding up-to-date health and safety resources, and looking up mass transit schedules and fare information increasingly depend on having access to websites.
People with disabilities navigate the web in a variety of ways. People who are blind may use screen readers, devices that speak the text that appears on a screen. People who are deaf or hard of hearing may use captioning. And people whose disabilities affect their ability to grasp and use a mouse may use voice recognition software to control their computers and other devices with verbal commands.
The ways that websites are designed and set up can create unnecessary barriers that make it difficult or impossible for people with disabilities to use websites, just as physical barriers like steps can prevent some people with disabilities from entering a building. These barriers on the web keep people with disabilities from accessing information and programs that businesses and state and local governments make available to the public online. But these barriers can be prevented or removed so that websites are accessible to people with disabilities.
What Is a UX Roadmap?
Definition: A UX roadmap is a strategic, living artifact that aligns, prioritizes, and communicates a UX team’s future work and problems to solve.
A UX roadmap should act as a single source of truth representing your UX team’s North Star. It helps your designers, researchers, developers, and stakeholders align around a single vision and set of priorities.
Advantages of Design Systems
Design systems, when properly implemented, speed up the design process quite a bit. They also make it so that designers and the rest of the product team can focus more on the flow and logic of a new feature or screen rather than the visual design.
It’s not that the visual design isn’t essential! It can be. But design systems mean we don’t have to design each element on each screen by hand from scratch. It also means that when we do come up with a new interface element, it can be shared by the entire design team efficiently.
If appropriately used, design systems encourage more consistency in our interfaces. Call-to-action buttons are always styled and put in the same place on different screens, so users don’t have to hunt around for things. Menus work consistently, so users don’t get lost. On mobile, the same gestures work the same way from screen to screen.