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Reaping the rewards of Design Thinking

While Design Thinking has been around for about 20 years, its sudden gain in traction makes it feel like the new kid on the block. Here’s why it’s something you should consider.

Eric F 23 January 2017

Design Thinking series

Welcome to our new series of blogs on Design Thinking. Each of these short, fortnightly blogs will give you an insight into an element of Design Thinking and how it adds value to your digital projects. To demonstrate this value, we’ll include case studies from both the government and private sectors, and also link back to the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Digital Service Standards.

We’re big fans of Design Thinking here at Salsa Digital, and I hope you enjoy learning more about this process.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is about putting the user and customer at the centre and designing a solution around them. This is directly in line with the DTA’s mandate of an: “Agile and user-centred process.”

Design Thinking covers both the planning and implementation stage of a project, drawing on a ‘toolbox’ to create the best digital solution. The areas covered in Design Thinking are:

  • Business Model Canvas— a visual template to develop new business models or document existing ones.

  • User Research— building user profiles to ensure the most user-centric design possible.

  • Empathy Maps— a visual map of what your customers see, hear, think, feel, say and do, overlaid with pains and gains.

  • Value Proposition Design — mapping products and services against your customers’ pains and gains.

  • Service Design — analysing existing services and creating new ones by focusing on customer needs.

  • Co-creation — bringing together different perspectives from the start, to create a better solution that focuses on the big picture.

  • Brand Design — creating ‘the brand’ using physical elements (e.g. a logo) and the less tangible (e.g. brand behaviour).

  • Customer Journey Maps — a visual map that shows where your customers interact with you.

  • Information Architecture — how content is structured, organised and then labelled.

  • User Interface Design — the way an interface looks and how users interact with the screen.

  • User Experience Design and Prototyping — bringing your ideas as close to the final solution as possible before the actual build starts (great for refinements and testing).

  • User and Micro Interaction Design — how users interact with the technology.

Some of these areas have always been on the radar for digital projects, but some may be new to you. In addition to being tools that will create a more user-focused digital experience, many of these concepts and tools relate directly to the DTA’s Digital Service Standard — an additional benefit of using Design Thinking for government agencies.

You can find out more about each of these on our Design Thinking page, with more in-depth information in future blogs in this series.

How can you benefit?

Design Thinking is a great way to get everyone on the same page, and to involve everyone in the thinking behind the solution. By using the full suite of Design Thinking tools, you can also deliver more creative solutions and a better user experience more closely aligned with your needs and the needs of your users/clients.

More info

If you’re intrigued by Design Thinking, you might want to check out these resources:

I think you’ll be hearing a lot more about Design Thinking in 2017 as it becomes the new focus to deliver truly user-centric solutions.

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