Stage 5 of Design Thinking: Testing
Updated: Feb 22
Design thinking entails a series of steps, including five critical phases in this approach.
So far, we've covered the empathize phase and methods for getting to understand your target audience; the define phase, which discusses how to write an appropriate problem statement; the ideate phase, which discusses various approaches for developing new ideas; and the prototyping phase, which acquire insights into the design thinking process.
The last step of the five-stage model is testing; however, in an iterative method such as design thinking, the results are frequently used to redefine one or more significant challenges. This improved degree of understanding may assist you in investigating the circumstances of usage and how people think, behave, and feel about the product, and may even take you to a previous stage in the design thinking process. You can then proceed with additional iterations, making changes and improvements to rule out alternate options. The ultimate objective is to gain as much knowledge about the product and its users as possible.
Why is testing important?
The beauty of the iterative design process is that the test stage of the design thinking process frequently feeds into the other steps. User testing provides you with really helpful and essential information from your users about why and how they will use your product. You'll have a deeper understanding of who your users are and what they want to achieve by purchasing your product.
Before user testing, most of the envisioned product is based on the designers' assumptions. Sure, these designers may have finished the empathy stage and studied - but there is a significant risk that critical information was overlooked and that designers are unknowingly working towards their own bias. User testing summarises the product's essence. The actual test session will give useful input to the designer since it will be based on real-life facts, observations of real individuals, and not simply assumptions.
Conducting a user feasibility test
Keep in mind that you want to acquire as much information as possible as soon as possible, and that you're doing it for three key reasons. These are the reasons:
To correct any defects and enhance the product for a better overall experience.
To save the organization time and money, be able to address issues before the costly stage of the process.
To conserve your team's energy and to dispute the assumptions established.
A usability test should assist you determine whether:
Users can complete tasks successfully and without difficulty.
Users can perform tasks quickly and efficiently.
Any improvements should be made to increase ease of use and performance.
In addition to these objective findings, you should consider if the product performs well and whether the users like using it. These factual and subjective findings give useful input that will assist you in shaping and improving your design.
5 guidelines for conducting a test
Show, don't tell: allow your users to interact with the prototype.
Make an effort to introduce yourself. Even if you are the designer, never, ever say so. People will be less forthcoming with criticism if they believe you are the creator and don't want to offend you. Explain how long the session should last, your intentions for them, and what they will be doing. Before you begin, always ask if they have any queries.
Avoid going into too much detail on how your prototype works or how it is designed to answer your user's problems. Allow the users' experiences with the prototype to speak for themselves and study their reactions.
Encourage participants to discuss their experiences.
When volunteers are browsing the prototype, ask them to share their views. Inform them that they must think aloud and express what is on their minds during the whole assessment session. Because this does not come readily to most individuals, you may need to remind them during the test. Make sure to include this in your introduction to the test and provide an example. You want them to tell you what they expect to happen when they click a button or what they expect to see on the screen based on the title or placement.
Keenly observe your participants.
Be an impartial observer. Watch how your participants use your prototype and resist the desire to reprimand them when they use it incorrectly. Mistakes are excellent teaching tools. Keep in mind that you are testing the prototype rather than the participant.
Ask follow-up questions.
Even if you believe you understand what the participant is saying, always follow with additional questions. "What do you intend when you say ___?", "How did that make you feel?", "What did you anticipate to happen?" and, most crucially, "Why?" are all good questions to ask.
Negative feedback is a great way to learn and grow.
Note that negative feedback is a crucial approach to growth and practice while testing your concepts and prototypes. You may feel a sting when someone complains about how tough your prototype is to use, but try to accept the fact that such input will benefit you in the long run. You will discover issues that you and your team may not have addressed. Always keep in mind:
“If you are not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.”
The End Result: Desirable, Feasible, and Viable Solutions
The design thinking process does not have a set order of phases, but it does have a desirable end goal. The ultimate objective of every design thinking effort is to create a solution that is desirable, feasible, and viable.
Desirability is concerned with people. It is the "human" component of human-centered design. Your solution is desired if it addresses the needs, emotions, and behaviors of the individuals you are trying to reach.
Technology is engaged in feasibility. Is your design approach technically feasible, or does it rely on technology that has yet to be created (or is not yet good enough for general use)?
The viability of your design solution refers to its capacity to function as a business. Is your solution supported by an adequate business strategy, or will it fail in a few years without investor or donor contributions? Making a profit is not the goal of design thinking, but strong design solutions should be self-sustaining. This way, you may continue to maintain and develop your solution even after the project is over.
Pat yourself on the back, thank your team, and even perform a short dance if you are able to produce a prototype (or final product or service) that meets the desirability, feasibility, and viability tests! You've created a solution that will have a positive influence on the people around you and will continue to improve lives in the years to come.
The fifth stage of the five-stage design thinking process is testing. Tests are frequently performed concurrently with the prototype step. Testing allows you to learn more about your consumers, enhance your prototype, and even fine-tune your issue statement.
Finally, the design thinking process is fluid, iterative, and flexible: the many stages frequently flow into one another and do not necessarily follow any particular sequence. That being stated, the ideal end point of design thinking is when the product or service is attractive, practicable, and viable.
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