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Why design thinking methodology for new software development?

Krisztina Kanizsai

Have you ever wondered why big and successful companies like Apple, Google, Tesla, Airbnb are capable of increasing revenues and shareholder returns 2x as their competitors? Based on a McKinsey survey, the answer is that because they are putting Design Thinking methodology at the center of their operations.

Design Thinking is often used for creative problem-solving - it encourages individuals to approach problems in a human-centric manner. It is not just a process for designers but can be utilised for all types of problem-solving.

The approach empathises with the target audience needs and their experience of using the product or services. It challenges assumptions and seeks to reframe issues to identify alternative tactics that may not have been apparent previously.

Design Thinking methodology comes in 5 stages:- 

  1. Empathise – with the target audience
  2. Define – the need, issues and insights
  3. Ideate – reviewing the assumptions and start brainstorming ideas for the solution
  4. Prototype – start creating the solutions
  5. Test – get feedback and review the solution

Each stage ensures that the end product or solution considers the end-user. However, it is not a linear process, but iterative – although the method is in stages, they are flexible. Some may need to be repeated or conducted simultaneously with other phases. The most important factor is that the ‘user’ or ‘target audience’ is central to the whole process.

Why use it for software development? 

Today the customer experience of many services is based primarily on the business logic of internal processes thinking from the inside-out. They may serve the structure of business units but can prove challenging for users to understand or adapt. The result is churning customers.

Whereas with a Design Thinking method, business owners or providers can identify the key challenges and different customer interests in using the product or service by an outside-in approach. It helps translate the business need into an interface that makes it easy to use for customers via iterations of research, synthesis, prototyping, usability testing. Applying Lean UX - an agile approach to UX - the process can be even more beneficial, saving effort and resources for companies to come to a product or feature definition without any cost of development.

Does Design Thinking methodology make a difference? 

With most things turning digital, there is an expectation that any new software application will help save time rather than impact it. Understanding your user journey their needs and expectations mean businesses can design a digital product or solution that is suitable for their needs and is easy to use.

Investing the time to carry out the design thinking stages when developing new software to bring to market ultimately minimises the risks at digital product launch - such as the product not resonating with the target customer or the software application being complex to use.

New software development created using this approach will be user-centred - the information structure, functionalities, and the way it is presented all lead to better usability and efficiency. Depending on the software product created, this could lead to it being more popular and frequently used amongst the target audience, leading to improved loyalty or customer-based growth - resulting in a more successful business.

Design Thinking breaks down the internal silos, embraces the end to end experience of the user, allowing to consider not only the digital but the physical and service experience as well. It's holistic and iterative approach enables a sustainable customer experience, driving business goals, customer satisfaction, loyalty and recommendation.

Zoosh are venture builders - we take a design thinking and agile software development approach to support businesses of all sizes with their innovative ideas. Contact us to find out how we can co-create and support your business in turning ideas into reality.  

Want to know more about design thinking? Download our whitepaper “Designing Intuitive and Lovable Software User Experiences” to find out more.