Software solutions are developed to fulfill the imperfectness of our real world experiences. It, thus, becomes their priority to provide a perfect User Experience in their own capacity and usage environment. Design Thinking Approach guides the solution to be more human-centric. That is why, it is understandable when, often, one mistakes Design Thinking and UX Design to be one and the same.
While Design Thinking is more of a contextual outline, UX design process has more to do with the structural aspects of a solution experience. However, one cannot completely debar DT from influencing the solution behaviour. Therefore, it is essential to take a look into the difference between UX design and the Design thinking process
Differentiating Between the Identicals
Take a look at this diagram here:
Understanding either from the problem or solution needs an understanding of the end-user who is facing the problem or will benefit from the solution. This is the portion that tricks the observer into thinking that DT and UX Design are the same thing. Let us break it down to understand:
- Design Thinking takes an issue and translates into a solvable problem. For eg. “People need essential household products during a lockdown” is an issue. Design Thinking process breaks it down to – “Direct maximum delivery resources towards the pantry services” this is now a problem that a team of developers working on the e-commerce portal will understand.
- User Experience Design on the other hand works on how to develop a solution so that their utility is maximised. For eg. “The slots available to order the essential services fill fast” is more to do with the solution rather than the problem it was made for. Therefore, a good UX for the solution would be to “Add the Essential Items card on the homepage so that it is visible enough and user doesn’t have to waste time searching for them”
- Both the Design Thinking and UX Design, try to understand the end-user and help them as much as they can. It is just the matter of how much and where exactly they can help.
Having discussed the difference between the two, it should be reiterated that Design Thinking still has a predominant drive when it comes to solution experience. Let us now study the consecutive DT steps that aid this drive.
Designing the Experience
The Design Thinking Approach is empathetic by definition. Meaning that it can also point the solution development in the right direction for the perfect experience. Here are the different steps of design thinking and their influence over UX Design:
- Empathy: This calls for research. Research that would try to answer the questions like –
- What is the spectrum of the users that the solution will cater to?
- What are the different platforms and interfaces do these users may have access to?
- What kind of information (if any) will the users be expecting from the solution?
- Keeping the future in mind, how likely are these realms to grow after a certain amount of time?
- Definition: Once the answers are in place, Design Thinking then tries to define the problem that might look like:
- Building an application that can help people of different social backgrounds share their knowledge on varying topics
- Developing a cooking website that ensures that recipes are visible as well as audible on both Television and cellphone
- Introducing a platform that validates the accuracy of the numbers of active Covid19 cases in a locality
- Ideation: The definition of the problems will allow the designers to brainstorm over possible tools and practices that can help the ultimate solution to provide the required experience.
- Prototyping: From this point on, Design Thinking and UX will be working together. Prototyping will help the end user to have the superficial solution experience before the solution is completely developed. Experience Design goes a few steps further before entering the testing and feedback phases. These steps are:
- Information Architecture: A navigational structure for the user to access the information easily
- Wireframing: Illustration of the website to decide upon media and text distribution, space allocation, behavior accommodation etc.
- UI Design: Based on the wire frame and information architecture, the UI is designed
- Prototype: Application first draft desired to be as close as possible to the actual intended application look, feel and functioning.
- Testing and Feedback: Once the prototype design is ready, it can be further improved by testing and feedback. The prototype created are rolled to a small, scalable set of audience for testing and feedback. Based on the feedback the team might need to go back to any of the previous steps and navigate their way back to the final prototype and, thus, the product.
Design Thinking Approach and User Experience Design can be seen as the tail and head of a coin. Though, it seems that the core Design Thinking principles might outlive the experience Trends of the present as well as the past. UX design processes will keep on evolving with the evolving users. Design Thinking will, therefore, keep opening up new doors to realize its visions and preserve the perfectness of the solutions.