“The user interface designer must have design thinking”. “In today’s world, nothing is more important for designers than design thinking”. “Product designer and user experience designer with design thinking who can remove problems from the way of product production”. These are the sentences that you must have heard if you want to enter the world of user interface or user experience design.

And you must have thought about this question. What is this design thought that is so important? Does it mean the same aesthetic view that a graphic designer should have? Or is it something beyond that? Is it based on an artistic discussion or is it more related to product production? Why is it important and what are its uses in UI/UX design?

Each of the applications that you work with every day is carefully designed. So are all the elements of every website you open and interact with every day. In general, all the digital products that are an integral part of your life and mine are carefully designed by designers.

So, when we talk about design thinking or design thinking or design-oriented thinking, we are talking about something broader than the art of design. We mostly mean designing digital products and all their elements and the experience and interaction that a wide range of users are supposed to have with them. In fact, design thinking is at the service of website or application design. To design a site or application that all users can easily work with and interact with.

Next, I will answer the questions posed above and I will also talk about the 5 stages of design-oriented thinking.

What is Design Thinking?

Let me give you a very brief and useful answer in the language of the reference site in the field of design and UI/UX design:

“Design thinking is a non-linear, iterative process that teams use to understand users, correct assumptions, redefine problems, and find and evaluate creative solutions. Design thinking has 5 stages – empathizing with the user, defining the problem, ideating, prototyping and measuring it – and it is very useful and practical for solving unforeseen or ill-defined problems and issues.”

As it is clear from the definition of design-oriented thinking, with the emergence of two fields and two new job titles in the field of digital product production, user interface design and user experience design, designing and design have found new dimensions. Dimensions related to the user and his problems and solving those problems. User interface and user experience design should be human-centered. It is for this reason that design thinking is a process that continues even after the production of the product to improve it and solve its possible problems. A process that involves trial and error.

The importance of design-oriented thinking for the UI/UX designer

Why is design thinking important? Why should a UI/UX designer have design thinking? Part of the importance of this type of thinking and looking at issues is clear from the definition of design-oriented thinking. Another part of the answer comes from the fact that, in this century, all businesses are looking for their own products and services to provide what users really want and need. It can be claimed that the competition between products and services and sites and applications is actually a competition over which one has a better user interface and user experience. Which one is more usable and satisfactory for the user?

So, the profitability of an application or site or digital product depends on it being built based on design thinking. Because it is only in this case that users will download it and have continuous interaction with it and are willing to pay for it. The digital product must have answered these questions: what problem is it supposed to solve for which group of users and how should it solve it? 5 stages of design-oriented thinking have been created to find answers to these questions.

5 stages of design thinking

The Stanford Design School, which is undoubtedly one of the leading groups in the world in the field of design, has determined the following 5 stages for design thinking. Note that these steps are not in order and each design or design team may advance these steps in a different order depending on the subject or the practical needs of the project.

Empathize

The UI/UX designer must put himself in the user’s place. Should he research to understand what the user wants when he enters the site or application? What problem is that site or application going to solve for the user? At this stage, the designer must understand the user and his world and abandon his assumptions. At this stage, quantitative and qualitative research play a very important role.

Define

Based on the data obtained from the first phase, the design team can determine the basic needs and main problems of the user. It is important to define the problem correctly. If the problem is not defined properly, other steps and efforts will be useless. When the real need and problem of the user is known, the designer can examine the competitors’ products and see what solutions they used.

Ideate

Did the competitors respond to the specified needs and problems or not? If yes, what answer? Are there better solutions? What are more creative ways to solve that problem? What is going to differentiate your product? Everything at this stage boils down to creativity.

Prototype

How practical are the ideas of the designer and his team? Can they really and practically solve the problem? For this reason, the design team should make a prototype of the idea or ideas they have come up with so that they can test it and see what will happen in reality. Of course, you don’t need to spend a lot on making prototypes.

Test

Now it’s time to try the built sample. Does it work right? Doesn’t it create a new problem? Will the user have a satisfactory interaction with it? Based on the results of this stage, the design team may need to start all over again because they realize that the idea they have chosen is not good enough.

Applications of Design Thinking in UI/UX

In user interface design, everything that is related to humans and makes the UI designer understand humans better is important. As mentioned before, UI/UX design should be user-centered. The goal of a UI/UX designer is to design a product that the user doesn’t need to think too much about and do a lot of work to interact with. For this reason, the user interface designer uses various psychological principles and laws, such as Gestalt principles and laws and Hick’s law, to make the user interface of the site or application more targeted and humanized.

But since the needs of people and the market are constantly changing, it becomes really difficult to know the real needs of users. Sometimes the purpose of designing a new product is just to improve the previous product. Whatever the purpose of the design, the design thinking process helps the designer understand what the end result should be and how.

“Interface and user-experience designers with design thinking, on the one hand, fully understand the user’s goals and his dissatisfactions, and on the other hand, what needs to be done in the end. So the designer uses design thinking to find problems as well as creative solutions.”

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