Back to Blog

Design Thinking in Software Development

Design Thinking in Software Development

Contrary to popular belief, Software Development is more than solving problems through code! It also entails creating positive experiences encouraging users to trust a product, service, or brand. That goal also encloses providing seamless user experiences, and that's when Design Thinking shows up. Let's talk about its impacts on Software Development!

What is Design Thinking in Software Development?

Design Thinking in Software Development has many essential concepts, so first, let's define them. Design Thinking involves overlapping the skills from the design world to business areas to take User Experience Design in software development projects to another level. Further, it has some unique definitions to it! For instance, in the Design Thinking context, inspiration refers to creating innovative solutions motivated by opportunities or issues. While ideation involves generating, developing, and adapting, implementation focuses on launching.

As you may know by now, the Design Thinking process entails five well-defined stages:

1. Research. First, you must do some research to understand user needs, goals, and wishes.
2. Define. Here, the idea is to identify which issues you will address with your product.
3. Ideate. Consider all the solutions to solve a problem through your product. At this point, teams brainstorm and exchange ideas to select the best solution.
4. Prototype. After discussing potential scenarios with the team, you'll turn the chosen solution into reality. Through prototyping, it's possible to test the suitability of the solution.
5. Test. Finally, you will test the prototype with real users. This way, you can verify how they use your product and find improving possibilities.

Even if you reach the final stage, it doesn't mean you've got a final destination. Developing a product is a continuous cycle! Consider the build-measure-learn approach.

Design Thinking in Software Development

The power of Design Thinking in Software Development

While often related to UX/UI Design, Design Thinking can also bring many benefits to the Software Development department!

One of them is viability verification. Design Thinking allows us to test the feasibility of a product. This approach often happens in the initial stages, making it ideal for defining the final product's features. Having user-proof features will foster MVP Development, from which you'll be able to gather valuable user feedback.

Additionally, Design Thinking provides transparency and clarity when understanding the goals by getting a detailed vision of offered solutions. Lastly, it opens the way for continuous improvement because changes along the way will ensue, even after the product launch! This advancement goes hand in hand with the product's lifecycle.

Steps of Design Thinking in Software Development

How do we include Design Thinking in software development? You must focus on the three main spaces or edges that define Design Thinking's pyramid base. 

The first one is to explore the problems. What problem do users have? In which context do they encounter this problem? Who does this problem happen to, and why? After you've gathered some data regarding the problem, you can dive into the solutions. How can you reach a collaborative understanding of the problem? What are the potential answers to this problem? What would users have to do with your solution to fix their problem?

With those two first spaces covered, it's time to merge and iterate! Create different scenarios when the various aspects of the problem meet specific solutions to define the best blend. Iterations are a common element of Agile Methodology as well! You can take the iteration concept from this framework and apply it to Design Thinking.

Yet, how does the team integrate these principles into the workflow? We can witness the integration of design principles as a forerunner to Agile. Any product that looks for an Agile approach can start with Design Thinking! It improves development and allows the resolution of complex problems, combining perfectly in the development process.

Design Thinking in Software Development

Design Thinking for Developers

So, how do you include Design Thinking in development practices? Well, you can follow some steps to incorporate this way of work into your daily dev project. First, designers and developers must be aligned as possible for the product's sake. Together, these teams can define the product's architecture, limitations, and possibilities. 

A Roadmap Test can be quite the ally from the dev standing point! You can start by testing the actions that each stage of the product creates. As a result, you can blend UX/UI with development as you work the code!  To help you, you can make a board with three categories: do, think, and feel. These will be valuable for understanding the code elements' interactions. You can also rely on Storyboards! These will enhance the visualization of the complete landscape so you can determine different actions according to other interests. 


As you can see, Design Thinking is not only for designers! Software developers also use it to provide better and more seamless experiences. However, I don't think it's about dethroning other approaches; it's more about relying on both. Now that you know everything about Design Thinking in software development, Are you ready to join this new wave of growth?