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🎨 Design thinking

Design thinking is a methodology approach used to provide a solution to a design problem.
It is one of the more common approaches used when tyring to understand user requirments (human needs). Design thinking considers a problem in vaious ways from a user perspective and then creates as many ideas as possible, through techniques such as brainstorming.


Stage 1 Empathise - Identifying user needs, Empathise with user
Stage 2 Define - Define the problem, Hypothesise, Map/challenge assumptions
Stage 3 Ideate - Create ideas that might solve the problem
Stage 4 Prototype - Prototype feedback loop, Conduct qualitive research with users
Stage 5 Test - Validate/disprove assumptions, Iterate prototype(s) based on research

Stage 1: Empathise#

This is the first stage of the process where you'll need to gain full understandig of your users and their needs. This is known as a human centred deign process, and it is key to this whole process.

This stage involves:
- Consulting users
- Consulting experts
- Observing users
- Engaging with users
- Empathising with users

All of this helps to gain a deeper understanding of their experiences and what motivates them. It allows for exploration of issues that might affect them and allows designers to become immersed in their users' environment.
This is usually the most time consuming stage and it vital to the whole process.

Stage 2: Define#

The define stage allows you to put everything together that you collect at stage one.
This is an evaluation stage where you can analyse your findings and gather them together into defining the problems you need to solve.
Any problems found should be collected as a problem statement. - This is a concise description of the problem
Example: If it was identified that we needed to increase the number of females studying computer science we might define this better as female student should be encouraged to study computer science based qualifications to improve their gender equality in the industry.
The purpose of this stage is to come up with ideas for stage three.

Stage 3: Ideate#

This is the stage where we start to generate ideas.
At this stage, we knnow our end user, so we can start to think outside the box to identify new and innovative ways to create something that metts our users' needs.
There are vaious techniques to help us do that:
- Brainstorming
- Mind mapping
- Group sketching
- S.C.A.M.P.E.R
- Brainwriting

All these techniques are different ways to generate as many ideas or solutions as quickly as possible - no idea is a bad idea.

The whole idea about this stage is to generate as many ideas as possible so that we can use them within the prototype stage.


Key Term

S.C.A.M.P.E.R is an acronym that stands for:

- Substitute
- Combine
- Adapt
- Modify
- Put to another use
- Eliminate
- Reverse

Stage 4: Prototype#

The purpose of this stage is to create a basic, cheap prototype that can be tested with a range of users to help identify any problems at this early stage.
Bear in mind, it is a lot easier to fix a problem at this stage rather than later when the full application is developed
At this stage, there might be multiple prototypes created to help identify which is best, what can be improved, what should be rejected or what needs further investigation.
The prototype might be a flow based diagram or it could be a high fidelity, interactive prototype created on specialised software. Like Adobe, Figma or Sketch.

Stage 5: Test#

Designers try to regularly test their prototypes throughout the design stage. As errors are identified, the designers may link back to various stages in the process to resolver the problem.
For examle: If the problem is a broken link, the designer will go back to the prototype stage and resolve the problem.
If the problem is related to the colour scheme (visual asthetics) then this might take the designer back to the empathise stage where they might need to reconsider the end user and gain further insight into the user needs.
These changes are known as iterations


Key Term

Iterations are used to continually improve a product prior to its release.