The rapid increase of ‘inspirational’ websites has produced an environment where design can be too reliant on surface-level visuals and not enough on the concept and design-thinking behind the work.

“Inspirational websites are showcasing a solution to another company’s problem, it most likely won’t apply to your website”

 

awwwards_website
Awwwards

For many years, designers have considered ‘inspirational’ websites as their background research and using elements of other competitor websites to shape their own (awwwards and siteinspire). This lack of design-thinking makes it difficult to effectively communicate and innovate.

 

siteinspire_website
Siteinspire

 

Lately, the proliferation of ‘design-thinking’ has developed a fundamental strategic role in decision-making. It uses the approach of creating ideas to ideate and analyse which in return improves the user experience and delivery to all stakeholders.

“Without the knowledge of customer needs, most organisations will stop being competitive in their marketplace.”

To ensure organisations produce timeless work that effectively communicates, designers must include accurate research and experimentation into their process. As designers, we must accept we are problem solvers and it is our duty to build a solid conceptual framework, not just decorate the surfaces of an existing structure.

Design-thinking enables people, teams, and organisations to have a human-centred view, and yet a systematic approach towards problem-solving. As we all understand design doesn’t happen overnight, we need time to create solutions, test them, hypothesize successful outcomes, evaluate performance, and deliver end goals.

 

What is Design-Thinking?

Design Thinking is a methodology used by designers to solve complex problems and find desirable solutions for clients.

The process is focused on collaboration between designers and users. It is iterative and adaptable based on how real users think, feel and behave.

 

There are 5 stages to the design thinking process:

1. Emphasise: Obtain empathetic knowledge of the problem you are solving. This is carried out through observation and engagement with real people to understand their experience and behaviours. Empathy allows you to set aside assumptions and gain insight into users and their needs.

2. Define (the problem): Analyse your observations and define the problems in human-centric ways. This will create requirements whereby your team can establish features, functions and other elements to solve the problems.

3. Ideate: Start to generate ideas based on the problems you have established. There are several techniques you can do such as; brainstorming, braindump and crazy 8’s – It is important to get as many ideas as possible.

4. Prototype: The design team will now create a basic version of the product based on all of the above research. This is an experimental phase and the prototype should be shared and tested within the team itself and a small group of people outside the design team.

5. Test: Developing a solution to the problem which has been thoroughly tested throughout the prototyping phase.

 

Design thinking is very much part of UX which is about applying a specific way of thinking to a situation. Design Thinking is not about solving a particular problem, but about finding the right problem to solve (conceptual thinking).

 

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