Design Thinking Process

A process cycle based in a 5 stages:

  • Empathize
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test

Empathize

Objective:

  • Understand customers’ needs
  • Deep insight into what they need and expect from the solution/product

Activities

  • Engage with stakeholders
  • Use innovative methods to collect information
  • Understand the problem/need
  • Record observation to answer what, how, and why

Guidelines to follow:

  • Adopt appropriate method to gather relevant information
  • Engage stakeholders positively
  • Experience the problem to understand the impact

Define

Objective:

  • To create a well-defined and meaningful problem statement to focus on

Activities

  • Information analysis
  • Collaborating observations that help define the core problem
  • Provide clarity and scope to the problem

Guidelines to follow:

  • Focus on the positive aspects of the customers’ needs
  • Eliminate negative aspects identified in their needs
  • Identify connectivity between problems by identifying similar context
  • Break down the problems into sub-problems
  • Define each problem to create meaningful problem statement

Ideate

Objective:

  • To generate and define multiple ideas

Activities:

  • Collect as many ideas as possible
  • Think, think, think…
  • Brainstorming
  • Use tools like charting, mind maps, boards
  • Gather all solutions suggested by the team of thinkers

Guidelines to follow:

  • Don’t get into details, feasibility, and viability during this phase
  • Don’t evaluate ideas
  • Focus on generating ideas
  • Always create visualization of ideas

Prototype

Objective:

  • To testify an idea
    • Verifies whether an implemented solution is successful
    • Identify further problems with the implemented idea to refine
  • Gathering feedback from the users about their experiences with the product

Activities:

  • Identify the type of prototype needed to illustrate the ideas
  • Capture all the key aspects of the idea and solution with the prototypes

Guidelines to follow:

  • Don’t spend too much time on the prototype always build prototypes with the intended users in mind
  • Checking feasibility and collecting feedback is the primary objective of prototypes.
  • Don’t focus on internal problems

Types of prototypes:

  • Basic prototype model: provide limited tested features, it’s inexpensive, may not be useful for some cases, you will get limited feedback.
  • Operational prototype model: operates like finished products, they are expensive, users can visualize how they will operate, you will get deep feedback.

Test

Objective:

  • Return to your users and test the prototype for obtaining feedback

Activities:

  • Engage with stakeholders
  • Understand if the needs are covered
  • Collect as much feedback as possible

Guidelines to follow:

  • Focus on assertive and defined feedback
  • structure the test activities with the user stories.
  • explain what was implemented and not implemented in the prototype (set expectations)
  • Don’t focus on internal problems

Discourse

I am participating on different forums and some of them are built with this open source software called: Discourse.

From usability point of view it’s the best one I am using. It’s not only the look and feel, it’s the sequence of information offered, the access to the already read threads, and many little details that makes you feel comfortable using it. You feel you save a lot of time when reading a blog using this software.

This behavior is on the desktop and mobile, which makes quick reviews of updates very easy. The keep you engaged on the web.

On the .org page you can implement it for your own forum with different pricing options.

Tribe.so

You can use https://tribe.so/ too for installation of an environment.