Design Thinking in Application Development
What do you think makes or breaks an app? Is it the features or the services provided by the app, or is it something else entirely? It’s the app design that holds the key to the success of your app amongst users. While the service for which your app is created will essentially draw the users to download and use it, the mobile app design will make the users keep using it.
Simply put, mobile app design focuses on the way your users will interact with your app. Everything they see, hear, and touch within your app contributes to its design. No wonder companies and clients often spend the longest time and effort perfecting the app design and hiring the most competent mobile app developers to turn their vision into reality.
So how does one perfect mobile app design?
The answer is simple- Design Thinking. Design thinking in application development involves using the mainframe of design thinking and using those principles to create the most interactive and supportive app design for your users.
Top mobile app developers focus on designing and developing user-centric apps, and the principles of design thinking allow them to follow a process that is completely inclusive of the needs and motivations of the app users. Imagine using a fast-loading app that displays a simple welcome logo and a fundamental homepage that requires you to navigate quite a bit to get to the features that are important to your interest. You will be turned off by the monotonous look and feel of the app very quickly.
Imagine a fast-loading app with colorful and welcoming graphics and an easy-to-follow user guide. Which app will hold your interest for longer? The answer is quite clear. Hence, mobile app designers turn to the following principles of design thinking that help them make their apps more appealing and give them insights into the user experience.
The Process of Design Thinking
Design thinking is all about putting the needs of the consumer above all. It heavily focuses on user-centric features and outcomes. It relies on empathizing with your users to define their needs, generate insights about their problems, and create innovative solutions for the same.
There are 5 main stages in the design thinking process that app designers can follow to create the most surprising and popular mobile app designs for their users.
As mentioned earlier, successful mobile app design will emerge from a proper understanding of the psyche of the people using it. Empathizing with the needs and motivations of your users is a tactic that will lead app designers to understand better what the users will be looking for in their app when they download it. Design thinking requires critical thinking to a certain extent, where you must compromise between your vision and what the users will actually need and react positively to.
Due to this, the process of design thinking is not linear but iterative. It requires constant updates and modifications as new information comes in.
Once you are in the shoes of your users, it will be relatively easy to define their problems and create respective solutions. You need to organize the information you have gathered from your observations during the empathizing stage and then discuss them with your team to figure out the core problems.
Your problem statement should focus on your perception of the user’s problem so that you can pitch solution-oriented ideas to incorporate into your app design. The more questions are asked, the better you will be able to define the problems.
At this stage, you let your imagination run free. You can take ideas and feedback from cross-functional teams to improve your design ideas for the app or other features. How to create a solution through your app for the problem that your target audience already struggles with.
In this ideation stage, you can use many brainstorming techniques to help you expand your problem-solving space, like Worst Possible Idea, or SCAMPER, to help you stimulate thinking outside the box. Doing this will help you come up with a variety of ideas, some of which could actually be doable, and from some, you can borrow certain elements that will make the design of your app more appealing to users.
Prototyping is the fourth stage of design thinking, where app designers can try out their different design ideas for the app and identify the ones that best fit the outcome desired by the clients or the needs and convenience of the users.
Remember, since design thinking is an iterative process, designers always have space to modify certain elements or eliminate them if they don’t do justice to the user experience when brought to life. The design team can prepare watered-down versions of the ideas they came up with a system to experiment with the team to identify the ones that best fit the features and requirements of the app and give an engaging user experience.
By the end of the prototyping stage, designers will have a much clearer understanding of what works for the app and the users and what doesn’t.
Once you have ruled out other design alternatives, you can go ahead and produce a full-fledged final prototype that will be released to the beta testers or shown to the client. The iterative nature of the design thinking process will resurface here as the feedback from beta testers or the client will have to be adjusted in the final design before releasing it to the public.
Throughout this entire process, you will develop a deep understanding of what the clients and users expect from the app and deliver on it. The additional feedback will only help improve your app and make it so that it really hits off with the target market.
The process of design thinking is not limited to designers only. The concept addresses biases and views that hamper innovative solutions to help people solve core problems. Design thinking gives any problem a human-centric approach so that it becomes easier for designers in any field to grasp a closer and deeper understanding of users’ needs, motivations, and preferences. Overall, design thinking in app development allows developers and designers to create a compelling design for end-users that dramatically impacts any app’s success.