What makes a piece of art, a photograph or a logo work? What is great design? Great design is so enmeshed into the bigger picture that you should not be able to recognise it but subconsciously take to it. Good design is not just making something look good; it is all about making something fulfil its function. Anything well-designed always seems like the simplest thing to do, seems being the operative word!
Design thinking as strategy
The moment you say design thinking and website design, one famous example comes to mind, that of Airbnb, an online vacation and short-term home rentals service. At a time when they were on the brink of going down, they decided to bring in a key tweak that would turn things around for them. They realised that one problem that was deterring users from making bookings was that most vacation home pictures were of poor quality. The solution was that the team spend some time with customers who would list properties on the site, and use a good camera to upload professional high-res images. This improved their bookings drastically, although it was not a scalable idea. This at the heart of a design-thinking approach — not everything needs to be scalable, but any idea that is aimed at boosting user experience needs to be tested; newer prototypes need to be put out there to solve people’s problems so your business grows.
How does one think like a designer, and what is design thinking all about? Design thinking is an intuitive, imaginative and yet logical approach to solving real problems. The first step to cultivate design thinking as a strategy would be to understand the on-the-ground problem. Design thinking is a human-centric method to problem solving and innovation. It is a strategy that is focused on the customer. In order to design a service, website or a product, the needs and behavioural traits of the customer need to be on top of the mind.
Putting the customer right in the middle
When you put the customer/consumer at the heart of the issue, it helps you gather a lot of data and empathise with their needs. This is the rule one of design thinking strategy. What does your customer want from your website? What are their expectations, and are their problems being solved?
Framing the problem correctly
One of the best ways to deliver the right solution is to frame a certain problem correctly. Often, it may require reframing. This happens only when you do your research and see a pattern or a theme emerging from your customers’ needs and behaviour vis-a-vis your website/e-store/product etc
Space for ideation and brainstorming
When you are designing a corporate website or an e-commerce store, you need to allow ideas to take shape — time and space for ideas to flow are crucial.
Ideating, at the heart of design thinking
Once you have customer insights, you can ideate and design a website that brings true value to customers. After all the ideas flow freely, the next step to take is to shortlist a couple of them so you can test.
Prototyping and testing
Once your ideas have crystallised, you would need to create a prototype that can be tested. When you create a prototype, remember that it doesn’t actually have to be scaled on every occasion. Get a lot of feedback and suggestions from the end-users or customers; make them part of the process so they are invested in the website. Also, testing means you may have to use more than one prototype, and see what works well.
Design thinking is not static; you would need to keep improving the website from time to time, depending on newer consumer needs and problems.If you truly believe that the customer is the king, then design thinking is a natural approach for you to follow. Keeping the customer/end user happy is after all at the core of your business.