4 min read

What Are The Design Thinking Steps?

Nowadays, product design is one of the rapidly growing fields of the business world. When it comes to creating something meaningful to add more value to your life, design is the very first word that comes to mind. 

Let’s have a deeper dive into the design thinking steps.

All you need to know

Design thinking is a methodology that inspires a designer to step forward with the best approach to designing the product. The phase of thinking is one of the most important phases for a product design process. Because, in this phase, the route map of the whole project lies. Once this thinking phase is executed successfully, the team of designers can proceed to the final project.

The importance of design thinking:

These days, it is very important to develop new skills to understand the rapid changes and adapt them in order to be acquainted with new challenges in users’ behaviors and work environments.

With the help of design thinking, the team of designers gets the freedom to brainstorm new creative ideas that can be put into solution.

The process of design thinking has some steps involved, following which the final product is built. It includes five specific stages in design thinking:

Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

Let’s discuss the design thinking steps here.

1. Empathize

The very first step in product design thinking is the phase of Empathize.

In design thinking methodology, designers fix group meetings with people and derive their points of view.

Designers face many issues when they try to solve some human-centric problems. When they are designing a product, empathy plays a vital role in design thinking. It helps to bridge the gap between the target audience and the product.

The empathy step also helps to unfold the experiences of the audience and brings motivation to the team. It will further provide a chance to get engaged with the product. Without this empathy stage, identifying a user problem is not possible. Thus, this step is the building block of every design thinking and considered as the very first thing in the design thinking steps.

Learn more about the five questions you need to ask while designing UX for the application.

2. Define

For defining stage, you need to have a vision of the target. Vision helps you bring out the real essence of the product; a product design’s success lies in having a clear vision and strategy.

In this stage, designers start to analyze the information collected throughout the empathy stage. Then, they approach to work on the observations from the previous meetings. You need to dedicate as much time as you can give to this part of research as this is the foundation of the whole process of product design and the design thinking steps.

The definition phase of the design thinking process helps to derive the user requirements following the way of defining the problem. It could have different approaches like Company-centered thinking and Human-centered thinking

3. Ideate

In this phase of ideation, designers should have a deeper understanding of the user base. This stage is solely dedicated to the power of creativity.

This step provides an opportunity to bring out the creative soul into ideation. During this phase, it’s important to bring various ideas and also to make sure that the design assumptions are valid for the business model.

The step of ideation includes conversion of the information from the previous steps into brainstorming an idea that fits well in the project.

Ideation plays a vital role in the design thinking steps as this phase helps the design team up in building a network of loyalty, trust, and excellence. It is a good practice that designers build habits of sharing their knowledge and ideas with each other in the team. Thus, the appropriate solution originates. 

Learn more about five fundamentals to design user interface.

4. Prototype

The next step in the design thinking process is prototyping. This phase involves the creation of the best-derived version of the product that is oriented to usually small-scale and inexpensive. The model includes specific features to target different problem-solution scenarios. This set the phase of decision-making easier and a smoother task.

In the prototype step, the main goal is to learn about all the roadblocks around the model. 

Prototyping should also reveal some of the other user experience problems you the designers so that they can build a clear view of users’ behaviors, reactions, and expectations.

5. Test

The testing phase of the design thinking process requires users to generate user-oriented results. This step is another important phase of the design thinking process. Without a testing and validation stage, designers face difficulty in scaling.

Testing is often considered an iterative process. Designers always expect to go through a number of changes, suggested edits, and corrections during the testing stage. Therefore, it’s quite obvious that designers may find a new idea that requires to start the design thinking steps from an entirely different approach.

Closing Thoughts

Thinking is the foundation of any kind of design. Therefore, you must understand that these five stages are different, hold a lot of importance, and contribute to the design project. They rely on each other rather than being individual. 

So, you should gain a deep understanding and knowledge of the target audience and then approach the design thinking steps to execute the process. This way, you will succeed to bring out the best version of the product.

Published by Anjini Khanna

UX Designer


Anjini Khanna UX Designer