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Design Thinking and HCD

Exploring web design, you encounter various frameworks. The top ones that come to mind are Angular, React and Vue. A framework is a supporting structure for an underlying system or concept.

Frameworks involve - processes, theories, and methods.

Going through university and pursuing an Innovation Degree, I have come across several frameworks and models for innovations. One of the top questions that came to mind when I came across them was how will I apply them in real life? Are they necessary? Let me quote James Clear a bit:

đź’ˇ “If you never copy best practices, you’ll have to repeat all the mistakes yourself. If you only copy best practices, you’ll always be one step behind the leaders.”

Design Thinking (DT) vs Human Centred Design (HCD)

Design Thinking

DT - a process that you go through to create solutions that will be adopted by people - can be used by any company aimed at creating processes

Aim - understand the user, challenge assumptions, and redefine problems.

Helps us develop empathy, question assumptions, brainstorm ideas, prototyping, sketching, and testing out ideas



Step 1: - empathise [with your users] — involves consulting experts to find out more about the area of concern through observing, engaging, and empathizing with people to understand their experiences and motivations, as well as immersing yourself in the physical environment so you can gain a deeper personal understanding of the issues involved.


Step 2: - define your users’ needs, their problem, and your insights — You should seek to define the problem as a problem statement in a human-centred manner. You can create personas

Step 3: - ideate [by challenging assumptions and creating ideas for innovative solutions] — Ideation techniques such as Brainstorm, Brain write, Worst Possible Idea, and SCAMPER. How might we

Step 4: - prototype [to start creating solutions] — an experimental phase, and the aim is to identify the best possible solution for each of the problems identified during the first three stages.

Step 5: - test [validate solutions] — redefine one or more problems and inform the understanding of the users, the conditions of use, how people think, behave, and feel, and empathize.

Human-Centred Design

HCD - is a mindset that overlays design thinking to ensure that the products are relevant and beneficial— overall — for the people they are intended to serve - focuses on the needs of the users. Starts with the people and ends with the solutions. Emphasizes who we design for.

HCD - finds the balance of feasibility, viability, and desirability.

💡 about cultivating deep empathy with the people, you’re designing with; generating ideas; building a bunch of prototypes; sharing what you’ve made together; and eventually, putting your innovative new solution out in the world. - here

HCD TOOLS - The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design, Design Sprint

Stages of HCD

  • Understanding opportunity area, organization capability and feasibility
  • Meeting people where they are


  • Observation
  • Ideation
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • User Feedback
  • Iteration
  • Implementation


Step 1: OBSERVATION [Inspiration Phase]

  • Be clear on who will be using the product and how
  • Research - to observe the end-user, learning, and being open to creative possibilities. - understanding who the design is for
  • Identify patterns of behaviour, pain points, and places. Try ethnography and putting yourself through the experience your users use.
  • Some steps here - market research [competitor analysis]


  • Start brainstorming ideas with your team based on what you learned from your observations and experiences
  • Come up with as many ideas as you can focus on the needs of the people you are designing for.

Step 3: Rapid Prototyping

  • Quickly build a simple prototype of your idea, it enables you to test with your end-user
  • Question - what is the minimum [loveable] product I can build to get user feedback quickly?

Step 4: User Feedback

  • Get your prototype into the hands of users you are building for

Step 5: Iteration

  • Keep iterating, testing, and integrating user feedback until your solution is fine-tuned

Step 6: Implementation

  • develop and get your idea to the world


đź’ˇ Put yourself in your users' shoes, understand what their experiences are, how they feel and how you can improve them. Use information gathered from research to fuel design solutions.


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