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What is the Design Process

Hello everyone I know I haven't written on this for a while but I a trying to make time in writing out my visual blogs I do on youtube as a way to reflect on both what i said and for your benefit to read my summary as well.

So what is the design process? You've obviously clicked on thus to find out. What if I told you there isn't one... well at least not a definite "you should absolutely follow this!" process. Im 2005 The British Design Council came up with the double diamond method (example 1)

in which you could use as a template and most organisations religiously follow this but in my opinion the design process comes down to you and there are many variations.

(example 1: British design councils double diamond)

As you can see its very linear with its "Discover,Define, Develop and Deliver" and in some instances you can absolutely use this structure if you think about it because once you find a problem it's through a variety of research to find what is currently happening in the world. You could use the internet and start reading articles or journals online you could even start buying a newspaper if you feel some hacker has amended that information and created "fake news". Once your settled on that problem you want "define" it and start doing specific research on that topic but once again going online and reading journals but what I found was relatively helpful is to prove that your problem is a good problem to tackle by asking humans as who else has a better experience than humans themselves. This is where you start with the surveys and questionnaires and you could even run workshops so as to not seem pushy when it comes to preye-ing for information and it's done in a more engaging and fun way.

After you have the relevant information you need according to the diagram you need to develop this information into an idea and find a "potential solution" this can be done through collating your data and putting it into diagrams and sorting it out and finding patterns in what you found through that the obvious step after that is you miraculously found a solution and you are ready to present to your client, how easy was that!

This is why I think there are holes in this diagram as I said before it's too linear as when you design your always going to go back and research even after you've had an "initial idea" you need to use user research to prototype this which means you are going back a step to the define stage. When I was studying service design during my masters degree I found the best design process always came within you and you know best what feels right and what feels wrong even if you have to question the template every now and then. I composed my own design method based on what I did with my project and even though the structure is linear at least you can see I go back and research again.

As you can see I had to engage many times before reaching my final goal I would even put "prototype" after design develop and "engage" again before finalising as its so important to make sure your product or service is user friendly, easy to use and has a need in the market.

Ultimately the design process come from habits and amending those habits and taking initiative and responsibility for those actions and I know this is scary but as a designer it is something we all have to experience. We are risk takers and in order to change we must go into the abith of the unknown!

Another process I want to talk about it is the creative cycle which consist of "understand Redefine, Ideate, Visualise, Share and Refine" this is not linear at all as it goes in a cycle of this train of thought. I always thought this was a good thing to use at every level but especially during learning in university when you get given a brief and you need to make head or tails about it this diagram can surely help you out.

Sometimes in a brief you get given problems that you didn't know was a problem, this is were some investigating comes in and don't be afraid to put some empathy in the mix the biggest part about understanding isn't simply about researching what the problem is I find you need to be able to humanise it as well and ask yourself;

"have I experienced this?" "do I know someone who has experienced this?"

Once we have understood the problem and know what its about its always good to question it by using "how might we" in order tackle this, highlight areas of the brief and refine it by putting it in your own words because one story can have one million meanings and takeaways. So you've understood and redefined next you want to "Ideate" by collaborate with your team members and jot down a few ideas using sticky notes, cards and mind maps.

A good tip to see if your idea is a good one is through the "visualisation" stage and through the art of storytelling this could be a good way to visualise if the customer is having a good experience or how the product or service works. As a designer you also want to understand and in order to prototype this to your audience it is important that they understand it to (as your selling it to them). User journey maps blueprints and storyboarding are a good technique to learn as it provides a good narrative insight into presenting to your target audience how your product and service works!

Sharing is caring take a picture and share your process online it may not be finished but by explaining what your doing and posting it there must be someone who will comment on it to help you improve. Another way to share is using focus groups and getting an activation board for people to put helpful suggestions on how to improve after engaging with the product or service. Feedback is always a good way for users to feel involved in the design process. It makes you feel important and needed!

Lastly "reflect" on your experience, there's always room for improvement, there's always things worth learning. I would highly recommend getting a journal to document your experience and track what you did every step of the way as we do forget so i would always recommend reflecting each day on whatever project your working on and then reflect on the project as a whole. Its a good stress reliever especially when working with teams as there's always that one team member who goes off the rails but know that it is not your fault it could lie with the person and perhaps it could be down to how the team can be properly managed.

I hope this blog post helps those who want to understand the design process more and if your ever struggling know that there is no right or wrong way of doing the design process it is entirely up to you and your decisions.

For more on the design process check out my video blog here and subscribe thanks that really means alot :)



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