April 15, 2021
Last month we introduced the Design Ladder by the Danish Design Centre. We discussed the ladder’s different design levels, how it can be used to identify where your company currently sits, how further design implementation can be used to improve your client’s product and their business and how to use design as an aesthetic.
Moving up the ladder, we go from design’s execution to design thinking. This month we’re at level three; design as a process which is part of Design Thinking.
A process is defined as ‘a series of actions taken to reach an end goal’. The end goal can be creating or improving a service, product or brand. Design as a process involves incorporating design into a process’s early stages, or using a design process, (like Design Thinking), to help create better products, services, or brands.
Market researchers can use design as a process both:
Many different design processes exist. And no single design process fits all industries or companies. There are some design processes that can be modified to fit different purposes or company cultures. The design processes shown below are used in different industries from engineering to market research.
The source of this material is the Design Council at www.designcouncil.org.uk. All rights reserved.
The source of this material is the TeachEngineering digital library collection at www.TeachEngineering.org. All rights reserved.
However, whilst there are many types of design processes, they all have three similar stages:
This stage always occurs at the process’ beginning and requires:
The aim here is to gather lots of information on the target audience’s behaviours, problems, and perceptions. These insights will then be used as the foundation for the products, brands or services which are being designed. This will ensure that you are designing with the user in mind.
Using the insights uncovered in stage 1, you can now start designing the right solutions and requires:
Great insights aren’t enough and they need to be brought to life. The aim of stage 2 is to develop insights into solutions for the problems uncovered in stage 1. These are then developed into high or low-fidelity prototypes. A prototype’s fidelity level refers to how much it will match the final solution. For example, a low-fidelity prototype could be a paper interface, whereas a high-fidelity prototype could be a video walkthrough of an app. From here you can test your prototype.
Compared to traditional processes, stage 3 is what makes the design process effective. This stage requires:
Stage 3 tests your prototypes, learns from their successes and failures, re-designs them, then re-tests them based on user feedback. Here, you measure the results that you obtained in Stage 2.
By using a design process, you can ensure that design is well implemented. This results in good design that’s based on understanding people and validated by testing. Good design leads to improved products, services, and brands.