Join Turi McKinley for an in-depth discussion in this video User-centered design overview, part of Learning Design Thinking: Lead Change in Your Organization.
- Design thinking focuses on the act of making to explore possibilities, going wide, open and unexpected. But this exploration needs to be based in some solid realities. These include business and market realities and forecasts, which many businesses are actually very good at. But a distinguishing characteristic of how designers approach understanding reality is the emphasis on human empathy and understanding the needs and wants of the people who will use the product or service.
The human-centered design approach puts people and their experience at the center of product and service design, and is grounded in continuous structured interaction with those people. In emphasizing the different types of people who may experience what you create, you're able to look at the problem from their perspective and reframe both the problem and solution. As part of the human-centered design approach, seek out opportunities to learn from people who aren't in the core demographic you expect to use your product and service.
Be open to seeing and hearing other viewpoints to help inspire your solutions. Your goal is to bring in ideas and insights that help the team get of of their everyday, run-of-the-mill thinking. So for example, a Frog team has been working with mobile operators around the developing world to help them better understand rural, low-income farmers, and develop services that would help them get better information about pricing their crops. In the beginning, the hypothesis was that the middleman wouldn't be a trusted source of information for these rural farmers, and we knew that they were struggling to get good, consistent pricing for their crops.
But during intercept interviews in a fruit market, the team began to observe the rate-setting process between farmer and middleman and saw that a lot of valuable information was being exchanged, and a higher level of trust than expected was present. So they expanded the research to speak to middlemen and quickly learned that they want farmers to succeed, because it helps their own business. Discovering this win-win became an important part of designing the final products and services and making them relevant to the context of use.
Human-centered design blends well with the iterative, human empathy focused mindset of design thinking. Experts in human-centered design methods will tend to have a strong design research background and the ability to communicate findings in a way that inspires the team's empathy with the people who'll use a product or service. And you should seek to have some of those experts on your team. But this mindset that we do our best design when we listen deeply and understand the needs and realities of our end users is one that everyone on the team should share.
Diving deep into these skills of design research is beyond the scope of this overview course, but Frog and GSMA have recently partnered to launch a comprehensive toolkit at the URL below, which I recommend as a great starter in this space, even if rural farming is not your area of focus. And there are other toolkits and courses on design research available online, and I've listed a few in the course resources. At its heart, human-centered design is about building empathy with and understanding of the people who will use what you create.
While keeping them at the heart of your work is a mindset, there is a rich set of tools that support keeping this awareness alive for your team and building your toolkit will be helpful as you move forward. The three things to remember about human-centered design are: Put human empathy into practice throughout the design and development of products and services, and focus on the breadth of humans involved in a product or service, not just one user. And always remember that this is a mindset supported by a rich set of of skills and tools that you can practice.
So as you think of your work today, would you say that your work or your workplace is human-centered? And what is one step you might take to help it be more human-centered?
The course opens with a definition of design thinking, including the roles and spaces required for success. You will then learn how to be a good design thinking leader, with specific advice on topics from setting goals to engaging the different skill sets and personalities in the room (introverts and extroverts alike). Next, Turi dives into creative collaboration: the heart of design thinking. She covers planning, research, and concept creation, and explains how to create a "service blueprint" that will help make the design a reality. Chapter 4 introduces prototyping techniques to advance the design.
Design thinking is all about collaboration so we've integrated a LinkedIn Group called "Design Thinking: frog + Lynda.com course." Throughout the course, the author will suggest opportunities for you to share what you're learning. You'll be able to participate in course-related discussions through your web browser at https://linkedin.com/groups/7022790 or via the LinkedIn Groups app, which is available for most smartphones. This is a great way to expand your learning and get additional insights from other members taking the course.
- Defining design thinking
- Implementing a design thinking mindset and approach
- Leading design thinking
- Aligning the design team
- Managing creative flow
- Guiding collaboration
- Generating hypothesis
- Prototyping fast and often
- Making a culture change