Although "design" is mostly seen as an end-result or a product, it is in reality a process. Design is an action, a verb - and not a noun. Design thinking refers to strategising this action to produce better end-results. It’s a protocol for solving problems and discovering new opportunities.
Phases of design thinking
A design thinking process can be categorised into the following five phases for the sake of a more structured approach:
Empathise: The first step requires you to carefully empathise with the problem you’re trying to solve and your target audience. If you’re aware of your audience and have an idea about their tastes, preferences, and can empathise with them, you’ll have a better product by the end of the process.
Define: The first phase helps designers gather data and information on their customers and their choices. In the second phase, all of this information is analysed and synthesised to define the accurate problem statement.
Ideate: Now that you know the problem statement, you are in a position to start formulating ideas around the same. With a strong understanding of your customers, problems, and team, you can now begin “thinking out of the box”.
Prototype: This stage involves producing a number of scaled-down, inexpensive versions of the final product or specific features. This is only an experimental phase to understand how the ideated solutions would perform in real-world situations.
Test: Testing is an iterative process and involves continuous refinements and eliminations of problems being faced/expected to encounter.
Design Thinking and E-Commerce:
The advent of e-commerce has significantly relieved the burden on customers. With the convenience of having a vast catalog of products at their fingertips, customers are quickly bidding farewell to long shopping queues for everything from electronics to groceries.
However, the keyword to be kept in mind is “convenience.” In today’s day and age, where there are numerous e-commerce platforms available for anything you can think of, you need to make your website supremely convenient if you want online shoppers to come to you instead of going to your competitors.
Hence, it pretty much goes without saying that smarter the design thinking, more will be the leads-to-conversion ratio for them. Let’s look at three critical trends for e-commerce and how design thinking can help improve the same:
1. Content-centric design and experience:
There are plenty of bells and whistles that can make a product look good, but nothing comes close to quality content. If the content is well curated and extremely relevant to your products, it makes it easier for your customers to build a sense of trust.
Relevant content is the first step towards not only making your brand look authentic, but also maintaining a way to educate your customers about the products they’re going to purchase.
2. Time-saving design elements:
The average attention span of users is less than 8 minutes. So, the focus should be on designing features that reduce friction and save time for the users.
However, the catch is that you need you need to maintain the quality of your user experience even while saving their time. The much-needed clarity on these matters can be attained only by using smart design thinking approaches, especially for websites which host webinars, online-tutorials or are in the education industry.
Let’s look at some ways you can help your user save time:
Design with common user navigation patterns in mind
Display context-specific features (only visible when users are only to need them)
Design with anticipated user actions in mind
3. Smart and personalised user experience:
Chatbots are nothing new when it comes to personalising user experiences. However, the drawback of that is they require several taps, so it does create some friction for users.
Personalisation, in all honesty, extends to tapping into universal human needs. This means paying attention to things like accessibility, transparency, and security. Also, people get emotionally attached to their devices and the apps they use on a regular basis. Therefore, they expect some level of human-like tendencies, such as knowing their likely pain points, and even identifying potential sources of stress associated with the UX. Some such features can include:
Inbuilt chat features that allow seamless interaction with users as well as instant assistance.
Age-responsive capabilities that adjust things like font sizes and colours based on the age of the user.
Login memory features that help users quickly get into the application.
Inbuilt messaging based on how users typically interact with an app.
Push notifications to be delivered when users are most active.
The future of UX holds a lot more personalisation with the increase in the applications of AI. Further, owing to the new generation of customers (the Z-gen), we can expect most of the design trends to be focused on visuals and to-the-point content. Whatever be the case, we’re sure to see a lot of improvements in the way e-commerce develops on the internet. The use of smart design thinking will only increase the end-results significantly.
(Anish Passi is the Director at Neostencil, which is a unique platform for Test Preparation where you can access live classrooms. He previously founded Testcafe and has extensive experience in the Education industry.)