Design thinking: putting yourself in the shoes of the users

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How many times have we uninstalled an app or stopped using software because of a clunky user interface! The importance of a well-designed product may be obvious, but the process by which it is achieved is often glossed over and not normally part of the academic curriculum. This is where design thinking comes in. It is a way of thinking systematically about a problem and arriving at an innovative solution.
Karan Awasthi, founder of edtech company ArtShala Center For Design, which specializes in teaching design thinking to students, explains that design thinking is a five-step process that anyone can apply to every project they undertake: “The first step is empathy (for the user), after which you define the problem, ideate it, create a prototype and finally test it. It’s not rocket science, and it’s something we can do subconsciously,” he says.
For young software professionals, the first step is crucial: understanding how users interact with the application, software or service under development, as this will lead them to understand the point of view of their users and anticipate problems before that they do not arise. Empathy is about putting yourself in other people’s shoes and connecting with how they might be feeling about their problem or situation.

Technicians are normally trained in a very linear fashion, says Awasthi, and design thinking gives them an alternative way of dealing with problems.
Neelesh Kripalani, CTO at Clover Infotech, says design thinking helps anticipate customers or users. “You can simulate the customer or user journey and identify friction points using a design thinking approach. New era technologies such as AI/ML, big data and cloud computing can help implement and improve systems built using the design thinking approach,” he said. -he declares. The process, he says, can help organizations reduce the time, effort and money spent on rule-based, redundant and non-essential work. The time and energy saved can then be channeled into core activities and innovations.
Shuja Mirza, director of solutions engineering at NetApp India, says design thinking is more relevant than ever today, and that ease of use is one of the most underrated design principles in any solution. “Sometimes the complexity of solutions can defeat the very essence of having a solution in the first place,” he says. Applying ease of use and simplicity of design, he says, allows NetApp customers to seamlessly leverage some of the company’s most advanced technologies.


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