Getting started

What is design thinking?

Ludovic Delmas
November 2, 2020

Design thinking is a human-centered, iterative, creative, problem-solving process. It helps teams manufacture innovation. It keeps people at the center of the process with the hope to create products that actually meet user needs and goals. 

Design thinking is not the sole property of UXers. It’s been widely used across industries for decades.

As described by IDEO, one of the leaders in design thinking, “This approach, which is known as design thinking, brings together what is desirable from a human point of view with what is technologically feasible and economically viable. It also allows people who aren’t trained as designers to use creative tools to address a vast range of challenges.” 


Design thinking consists of five phases. 

Empathize

This is where you learn about user problems, needs, and goals. You’re looking to gain empathy for the user and the problem they’re experiencing. Empathy is at the center of design thinking and UX as a whole because it helps you look at the problem from the user’s perspective and not your own. 

Define

After learning all about the problem during the empathize phase, you analyze the data collected and define the problem. Here, you create things like affinity maps and personas to guide you through the rest of the design process. The goal is to build a strong foundation for your ideas. 

Ideate

Now that the problem is defined, it’s time to try a bunch of things out. You want to generate as many ideas as possible. You’re looking to challenge the status quo and any of the assumptions about the problem you stated earlier in the process. You can’t know the best solution until you’ve considered all the options.

Prototype

After ideating, it’s time to start experimenting with the different ideas you came up with during the previous phase and begin creating prototypes that you’ll test.

Test

With your prototypes in hand, it’s time to learn if your solutions hit the mark. This is where you’ll run usability tests with real users to see what they think. You’ll get valuable feedback that you’ll use to either return to previous phases of the process to iterate further, or to move on to a final stage of production. 

It’s important to point out that these phases aren’t linear and it’s not a step-by-step process. It’s typical to jump back and forth between them and/or run phases in parallel.

Additionally, while there are a vast number of methods you can use during each phase, the 5 phases always remain the same. Think of the process as being dynamic. Depending on the context and the problem you’re solving, you apply the phase and methods that make the most sense. 

Does this sound familiar to the UX process we talked about previously? It should. Design thinking is built into our UX process. The Empathize and Define stages are the equivalent to Research & understanding. Ideate is the same as Information architecture & wireframing. Prototype and Test are the same as... you guessed it... the Prototyping & usability testing phase. And our process includes the final step of handing off for production, Visual design & handoff.

Back to library
5
Back to library
5
WRITTEN BY
Ludovic Delmas
DATE
October 14, 2020
FEATURED ARTICLES
Difference Between Graphic Designer vs UX Designer vs UI Designer
Getting started
SWOT analysis
Research & understanding
Do UX designers need to know how to code?
Getting started
What is UX?
Getting started
RECOMMENDED COURSE
Free UX course
Course
What is UX?
2
Getting started
Why is UX important?
3
Getting started
What is the UX process?
4
Getting started
What is design thinking?
5
Getting started
What do UX designers do?
6
Getting started
UX vs UI
7
Getting started
Do UX designers need to know how to code?
8
Getting started
Recommended UX books
9
Getting started
UX university programs: Pros & cons
12
Getting started
UX bootcamps: Pros & cons
13
Getting started
6 brutal truths aspiring UX designers don't want to hear
14
Getting started
Difference Between Graphic Designer vs UX Designer vs UI Designer
15
Getting started
Intro to research & understanding
101
Research & understanding
Finding a problem to solve
102
Research & understanding
SWOT analysis
103
Research & understanding
Competitive analysis
104
Research & understanding
Heuristic evaluation (usability evaluation)
105
Research & understanding
Task analysis
106
Research & understanding
Stakeholder interview
107
Research & understanding
Framing the problem
108
Research & understanding
Research plan
109
Research & understanding
Survey
110
Research & understanding
User interview
111
Research & understanding
Card sorting
112
Research & understanding
Customer journey map
113
Research & understanding
Empathy map
114
Research & understanding
Affinity diagram
115
Research & understanding
Personas
116
Research & understanding
Contextual inquiry
117
Research & understanding
Diary study
120
Research & understanding
Eye tracking
121
Research & understanding
Intro to IA
201
IA & wireframing
Layout + CRAP
203
IA & wireframing
Site map
204
IA & wireframing
Scenarios
205
IA & wireframing
Storyboards
206
IA & wireframing
Low vs high-fidelity
207
IA & wireframing
Sketching
208
IA & wireframing
Wireframes
209
IA & wireframing
User flows
210
IA & wireframing
Intro to usability testing
301
Prototyping & usability testing
Usability testing plan
302
Prototyping & usability testing
Prototypes
304
Prototyping & usability testing
Research report
305
Prototyping & usability testing
Typography basics
401
Visual design & handoff
Color basics
402
Visual design & handoff
Color accessibility
403
Visual design & handoff
Pixels vs points
404
Visual design & handoff
Layout + 8pt grid system
405
Visual design & handoff
Design system
406
Visual design & handoff
UX writing
408
Visual design & handoff
"Final" usability test
409
Visual design & handoff
UX portfolio basics
501
UX portfolio
Your portfolio is just another UX project
502
UX portfolio
Choosing a site builder for your UX portfolio
503
UX portfolio
UX portfolio inspiration
504
UX portfolio
5 tips for junior UXers asking for portfolio feedback
505
UX portfolio

Join hundreds of

designers learning UX

Take our free 7-day UX design course for graphic designers, complete your first UX project in just a few days, and see what you think.
😎 You're awesome! We'll send you an email with the next steps. 🎊
👻 It looks like there's a ghost in the machine. Please try again.