Design thinking applies an iterative process to understand the user, challenge beliefs, and look for fresh solutions to problems to identify options and solutions that might not be readily obvious. Design thinking is more of a solution-based strategy to solving problems. It is a mode of thinking and working as well as an assortment of practical methods.

Design thinking focuses on understanding the demographic for whom the products or services are designed. It enables designers to observe and develop an understanding and empathy for their target users. Design thinking revolves around three critical questions — questioning the problem, questioning norms and assumptions, and questioning the implications. Design thinking is a real-world approach to dealing with yet unknown issues. It looks from a human-centric angle. It adopts a hands-on approach to prototyping and testing. Design thinking also involves continuing experimentation and trying out new concepts and ideas.

The Phases of Design Thinking

There are many variants of the process of design thinking. But all its forms are very similar. Every variation of the design thinking process embodies the same principles. This article will focus on the 5-phase model laid down by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design, the vanguard of applying and teaching Design Thinking. The 5 phases according to this school are the following:

1Empathize with your users.
2Define your users’ needs, problems, and insights.
3Challenge conventional beliefs and generate ideas for cutting-edge solutions.
4Start the solution process by creating prototypes.
5Test the solutions.

It is crucial to note that these 5 phase stages or modes do not always follow a specific order. It can occur in parallel and repeat iteratively. The phases are not a hierarchical system. Instead, think of them as an overview of modes or phases that can help you come up with an innovative project.


Coming up With Outside the Box Solutions with Design Thinking

Design thinking is otherwise known as outside-the-box thinking. Designers attempt to advance new ways of thinking that deviate from well-known or common problem-solving strategies.

At the center of Design Thinking is the goal of improving and enhancing products by analyzing how users use these products and investigating the conditions in which they operate. As a designer using this method, you must ask significant questions and challenge established solutions. One core element of outside-the-box-thinking is rejecting previous assumptions and questioning their validity.

Once the conditions of a problem are known, the solution generation process begins. Designers create ideas that mirror the genuine limitations and facets of a particular problem.

Design Thinking is a way of digging deeper. It demands the proper research and prototypes to test products and services to discover fresh ways of improving a product service or design.


What Is the Logic Behind Design Thinking?

The scientific activity in design thinking will include analyzing how users interact with products and investigating the situation in which these products are actually used. It involves the following processes:

1Research users’ needs
2Survey experiences from previous projects.
3Predict present and future conditions particular to the product.
4Test the scope and limitation of the problem.
5Test real-world applications of alternative solutions to the problem.

But in contrast to a purely scientific approach, investigation in design thinking involves hazy elements to uncover previously unknown limitations and discover innovative strategies.

After reaching several solutions, the selection process is underpinned by logic and rationality. Then, designers will start analyzing the solutions, either rejecting or validating them, to arrive at the best option for problems or obstacles identified during each phase of the design process.


Producing Creative Ideas and Solutions by Having a Gestalt Human-Centric Perspective

Design thinking seeks to have a holistic and empathetic understanding of problems people face in their day-to-day life. Designers try to empathize with their target users by exploring concepts such as emotions, needs, motivations, and drives.

Generating ideas and solutions with this view is sensitive to how users operate and the problems and struggles they might encounter when using the product.

The creative aspect of Design Thinking can be found in the strategies utilized to arrive at solutions and insights into the activities and thoughts of real users.


How Can Design Thinking Be Applied in Web Design?

Apply Established Patterns

Users may spend more time on other sites than on yours. They might be accustomed to gathering information or doing a task in a certain way while you ask them to do it differently. In many cases, users will be resentful and do not see this as an exciting opportunity to learn something new.

It is usually painful and frustrating to scale the learning curve. Although it is possible to improve and even entirely replace established patterns, it can be challenging. Most people will welcome consistent and predictable patterns since it creates harmony between experiences. Many fear unpredictability.

For this reason, it is recommended to hold a sketching activity during the ideation phase in which you brainstorm dozens of ways to present information. Some of those ideas will stand out. You might also stumble upon new and valuable insights. This activity is worthwhile, although even the best decision would not be able to replace the accepted pattern.

While it can be refreshing to explore other options, the most advantageous route is usually derived from applying patterns that people already know and are incorporated in a wide range of products and applications.

Prioritize Flexibility

As an expert in your field, you might already have a method and position on how certain tasks should be done. You are driven to build those best practices into your product.

Adding guidelines and guardrails into the workflow can be powerful, especially if you have already built trust with your users. But bear in mind that what you will be laying down is only guidance. Users will know when those best practices are applicable and when they should be disregarded. Hence, it is crucial to prioritize flexibility whenever possible because you don’t want to confuse your users with too many choices.

What Is Website Optimization?

Website optimization is making a series of fixed and targeted changes contingent on different strategies to enhance the performance of your website or internal tools.

Optimizations are primarily low-impact efforts to drive high-impact results. These are easy to implement and have a high potential of boosting performance.

When considering optimization, there are two different audiences to consider. The first is your internal business users or employees using digital tools, and the second is your customers. These two groups have different goals, but both can benefit from optimization.

Remember that 66% would want to see something beautifully designed rather than something sparse and plain when users log on to your website. Therefore, the design of your website is a crucial part of your digital presence. To build a robust website for your clients, you must understand the importance of web design.

How Do I Choose What Optimize?

The areas you should optimize may differ from another organization because every business is unique. But ultimately, there are two critical questions to ask when it comes to optimization.

What Are the Goals of Your Business and Customers?

Factor in how you want your website to play a part in your business’s growth. What are customers going to your website trying to accomplish? Make a list and prioritize the optimizations that will create the most revenue.

What Does the Process or Experience Look Like?

Your optimizations must be fueled by the goals of your users and business. It will help you determine what is standing in your way of achieving quick and better results.

What Specific Areas Should You Consider Optimizing?

Optimizations will typically involve content, SEO, design, code site speed, and tool adoption. But if you have the time and resources, there are no limits to optimization. The following are some common areas to focus on.

1User Experience

Bear in mind that every visitor who comes to your website is looking to find an answer. They want solutions to their problems or to complete a task.

Focus on optimizations to make it effortless for your visitors to complete these goals.

Examine your web pages with low conversion rates and visual analytics of user behavior to understand where to best experiment and optimize.

2Technical Performance

Websites that are slow to load and unresponsive result in page abandonment and negative search rankings. Tools such as Google Page Speed Insights help you find out how quickly your site loads for various gadgets and devices. Then based on your score and the apps’ recommendations, you can improve your code, images, and other aspects to positively impact page speed and, ultimately, conversions.

3Digital Adoption

Adopting software and digital tools will often create a domino effect on your business. Because teams are increasingly transitioning to remote work, business leaders must ensure their teams know how to use these tools properly. Determine how each tool is used and prevent any hitches in workflows or processes. It allows you to reduce, condense, or utilize what you already have while improving internal productivity.

Conclusion

Design thinking involves:

  • Finding value, understanding users’ need for flexibility.
  • Analyzing established patterns.
  • Being human-centric with product design.

These overarching principles have application in creating an effective and beautiful website design. Build your website to provide value, functionality, and excellent user experience to your site visitors.