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6 Design Thinking Principles and Why They Are Important

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No matter what sort of industry you work in, preparation will generally be your key to success. Larger, long-form projects oftentimes require a huge amount of planning to be done, before actually getting started. While it may seem like a drag, this is for your own benefit, as you can determine how to solve problems early on.

Sometimes, all components of this specific process can come under what is known as design thinking. These strategies are used to inform the designer on how to best go about their work, when coming up with a product. Design thinking also has a few principles that can assist the creator along the way.

Here are the core design thinking principles:

Design Thinking Principle #1: Identifying Problems

First and foremost, you should take all the time you have to figure out what problems are present. All design processes will often have vulnerabilities which could hamper your progress in the future. Design thinking, when put into practice, forces you to identify these gaps early on.

For example, you may be trying to determine various audience personas for a UX product. Not identifying your target demographics early on can hamper your marketing after its launch. As a result, write down any current product issues you have, as well as any potential problems too. That way, you’ll best know how to handle them afterwards.

Design Thinking Principle #2: Focus On The User

An important design thinking principle is to keep the consumer at the forefront. Since they will be the ones who are using your product, they will be giving you the feedback you require. To ensure that this feedback remains positive, the design should incorporate the user experience.

One of the best ways to remember this design is to incorporate empathy into all parts of your design. Since human users will be driving most of your success, they should always be considered at the onset. Consumers are not robotic or one-dimensional; they are multifaceted in emotional responses to products!

Design Thinking Principle #3: Collaboration

As mentioned previously, you’ll always want to define your problems when designing a product. This allows you to analyze where things could go awry, so that you can avoid them through and through. Once you have, to the best of your ability, figured them out, collaboration will be key.

Some designers will often work with a team, where each member carries with them a unique skillset. Ensuring that all members voice their professional opinion during this phase will result in the design being successful. As the old adage goes, two hands are always better than just one!

Design Thinking Principle #4: Ideation

Your problems, as identified previously, should have been recorded down on a document. These documents are known as problem statements, to which you can refer to when needed. When you are ready to solve these issues, this design thinking principle will have to be considered.

Ideation involves coming up with as many unique solutions as possible, before implementing them. Since design thinking, at its core, wants you to focus on finding the answers, ideation is vital. All participants will have a chance to come up with their solutions, so that all possible problems can be mitigated.

Design Thinking Principle #5: Prototyping

The next principle, which is also crucial to your success, has to do with experimentation. The ideation stage involves recording any and all solutions to your product. Once this has been completed, you’ll have to integrate the solutions into a real-world prototype. The prototype should address the gaps that were found in the beginning.

If you are unhappy with your first prototype, that does not mean that you need to stop and go back to square one. Prototyping involves creating as many scaled-down products as you require. This is recommended, in order to discover which version will work the best prior to your launch.

Design Thinking Principle #6: Testing

After all of your prototypes have been initialized, you’ll want to continue testing them! The final design thinking principle ensures that your product is in an optimal state. Without vigorous testing and reviewing, it might falter when you last need it to!

Many professionals who use design thinking in their work often come to the table with different approaches. What may work for one individual will not work for another; it is completely non-linear in this light. Once you are satisfied with how it has turned out, conduct a final test run. All parties involved must be satisfied, before launching the final product.

Design thinking is not compulsory when coming up with a design for your needs. However, the process is a strategy that you should consider for a variety of reasons. Each principle will have you thinking critically about a design, along with working diligently with team members. All phases will, inevitably, set you on the path to success!

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