UX Design Thinking

If you’re a frequent visitor to our blog and courses, you’re probably familiar already with the term Design Thinking. But did you know that it can also be applied to UX? It seems pretty obvious, but its application isn’t as straightforward as it might seem.

In this article, we’ll go through a methodology, as well as examples, of how to apply Design Thinking to UX.

But first of all,

What is UX Design Thinking All About?

Well, the name says it all, doesn’t it?

User Experience (UX) design thinking simply refers to applying the principles of the DT framework to UX. This might cause some confusion as the two terms as often seen as overlapping, but if you take a deeper look at the meaning of Design Thinking you will see that it refers to a more macro view of the design process, whilst User Experience focuses on the interface between the user and the program.

The former is defined by the Interaction Design Foundation as a process to solve problems through the use of graphic design. UX Design thinking can thus be thought of as problem-solving at the human/computer interaction level through the use of design.

So how can you apply this methodology to your own projects?

Step 1- Identify the Problem

If you’re looking to¬†solve a problem, you right ought to identify it first.

This can and should be done with the collaboration of actual users. So the pre-step 1 stage is to identify the target user and reach out to a few. In this stage, you should be looking to identify how the user interacts with the software/product/interface and take detailed notes on the consumption process.

By mapping out all the steps necessary to reach the desired outcome, you will start to identify bottlenecks, inefficiencies, and shortcomings of the UX.

Step 2- Brainstorm Solutions

Armed with a basic understanding of the current status of the experience, you are now ready to begin the ideation process.

This is where Design Thinking kicks in. Using the problem-solving approach, think about potential solutions, listing them as hypothesis.

There are several ideations¬†strategies, which are beyond the scope of this article, but the easiest way to have good ideas is to formulate the problems clearly. Do this and you’re more than halfway there.

Step 3- Implement and Test

You can now implement your hypothesis and test them in the real world.

It’s important to note that implementation should be just good enough to test your hypothesis, but not any better. Time spent polishing ideas will not only increase your attachment to an idea but also limit the efficiency of the experiment.

It’s important to borrow the concept of MVP (minimum viable product) from the startup world and implement ideas that are the minimum necessary and not more.

If you defined your KPIs clearly at the beginning of the process, you will now have an easy way to assess the effectiveness of each solution.


And congratulations! You just applied Design Thinking to UX!

We won’t lie- Sometimes the buzzwords can obfuscate and confuse, but in this case, as we hope to have shown you, these are two really simple concepts that when applied together can be very effective.

Let us know in the comment box if you have applied this methodology personally and the results you achieved!