When designing a website, it is easy to get caught up in using new and splashy graphics or trying to fix problems in the last iteration of your website. It is that kind of narrow focus that can lead to user dissatisfaction. Even though you may have known that there was an issue with your last website, the customer may not have been aware of the problem. All the user cares about is their experience on your website; they worry about what they see every time they log on to your site. That idea is at the core of what design thinking is all about; focusing on the user experience. User experience design or UX Design go hand in hand with design thinking. Both methods are customer-centric, and if you are serious about design thinking, UX Design should be incorporated into your process.
How Does Design Thinking Work?
The goal of design thinking is not to zero in on a specific problem that needs to be corrected but to strive for an overall goal. It can be used in web design to tackle some complex issues that could be missed like in the old adage, missing the forest for the trees. Your company may come up with a specific goal such as driving more web traffic to your website, say a 75% increase is the goal. The standard way of thinking would be to run more PPC ads, to make more social media posts, and so forth.
With design thinking, you ask why there is a need to increase traffic. Is it to increase conversions? Maybe instead of increasing your advertising budget, you could send out emails to existing customers on your lists offering a discount or informing them of a sale. Asking why there is a is a problem is a key component of design thinking. The whole idea of design thinking can be viewed as both a philosophy and a way to do things. Design thinking’s primary purpose and driving mechanism
Design thinking is predicated on solution-based thinking over problem-based thinking. Good design is always about finding a solution over-focusing on the problem. Design thinking is trying to find a cure over just treating symptoms.
Why Use Design Thinking?
Using design thinking solves actual customer issues rather than only focusing on business goals. Here are the five stages of the design thinking process and how they can help you to design a better website.
Empathize – What does the user want and need when they come to your company’s website? How do they feel while they are using it?
Define Site Issues – What are the issues that were determined by empathizing with the user? What are the causes of those issues? Do you see any patterns developing? Then come up with a clear problem statement “The font on our website is hard to read”.
Brainstorm – Come up with a number of solutions that might fit the problem on your website, “Use bigger fonts”, “Change the color of the font and the background color.”
Prototype – Come up with a prototype of your solution to the problem- Using a larger bolder font in white on a dark background.
Test Your Solution – Put the solution prototype to the test- Have people with vision issues look at the new font and background and collect feedback on the effectiveness of the changes.
Don’t feel that you have to follow this sequence exactly, design thinking will bring about discoveries and you may have to circle back to earlier steps before moving forward.
So, when the time comes around for your company to redesign its website, consider design thinking rather than putting band-aids on your site’s problems. You may find that your customers will appreciate it!