Think of the ’80s when colour television was new in the Indian market.
TVs had small and square screens, there were no remote controlling devices, the sets were bulky and used to eat up considerable space. Despite all these, having a colour TV set was a pleasure then, but were we satisfied with the functionality perspective?
Perhaps not! That’s what triggered the year on year innovation and today we have the Smart TVs - Fast user interface, transferring of smartphone content into TV, online and music streaming, preferred content recommendations and what not. Indeed, these added features are satisfying as they empathies to our entertainment needs. This empathic understanding comes from “Design Thinking.”
Design Thinking - Empathic Understanding of Customer’s Needs
The biggest question in today’s market is how to get a competitive advantage. The simple answer is to have the highest empathic understanding of customers’ needs, which can be achieved through design thinking.
It is not only about design aesthetics but also an interdisciplinary methodology that uses designs as a basis to develop products with a human-centred approach so that it can innovate better problem-solving. Eventually, lead to differentiation and deliver a competitive advantage.
In the field of software development, design thinking is highly relevant as it transforms software development by facilitating human interactions with the software, which in turn enhances the acceptance towards the products.
Design Thinking for Software Development
Is infusing design thinking in software development is a complex affair? Definitely not! If your software development process can have clear answers to the following four questions, then very easily design thinking will get infused in the development process.
Who Are The End-users of The Product?
You develop software and then you start looking for its prospective customers, that’s not design thinking. Rather you have to start by first identifying your customers, their constraints and requirements. The customer is at the heart as you get into the process of conceptualising your software.
Is The Software or The Solution Empathising with The End-users?
Design thinking is all about having the empathic understanding of customers’ requirements. Thus, it is important to become clear about your customers- what are they trying to do, what are their expectations. Asking the right questions will help you to address the problems. The trick is to think ahead to identify the users’ possible pain areas.
Is the Solution Feasible?
After identifying the problem area, you think of the solution. But before you move ahead with the development, it’s time to do the feasibility test. Here, the best technique is to discuss and ideate. It is always smart to consider alternative solutions.
Each stakeholder involved in software development must discuss to draw their respective solutions to the problem. Unlike traditional software development where an alteration in design is more like a feedback-based rework, design thinking encourages proactive identification of problem areas.
Discussion and ideation activities among all stakeholders, including developers & testers, and not just creative owners help in finding the best solution.
Is the focus on finding the solution?
Design thinking let you start the process of software development with clarity about the core problem area and the solution you are going to provide. However, as the development proceeds, the developers and testers need to stay focused towards achieving the project objectives of offering empathic solutions to users' problem points.
Although the design thinking methodology encourages a more streamlined procedure of software development yet it is important to incorporate iterations and ongoing changes to shape the final product/service.
So, what design thinking can offer you? Whatever be your offerings remember to offer clarity with solutions on users’ needs, target at transforming software into a better automated solution-based product with human-centred design in order to lead towards improved outcomes.