Design thinking process is to reveal collections of constraints, and then achieve a harmonious balance is important. Viability (business interests) desirability (human needs) and feasibility (technical requirements) are to be considered.


To empathize is to understand the experience, situation and emotion of the  person  you are supporting. As a UX researcher is it important to observe your users and their behaviour in the context of their lives. Engage with people in conversations and interviews. Ask why. Watch and listen. Ask someone to complete a task and tell you what they are doing.

Insight is more likely to arise from ‘framework-free’, open-minded  study of unusual/edge-live-rs/pioneers, than surveys with framed response formats. To understand how users’ apparently inexplicable behavior helps them to cope with  their complex life, and makes sense from their point  of view, we need to share their experience.

Find out more about techniques for empathizing with the end user. For example, empathy maps, which was coined by Dave Gray and gained popularity in the agile community.


To define is to process and synthesis the findings of our users needs and aptitudes in order to form a user point of view that you will address. Develop an understanding of the type of person you are designing for. Synthesis and select a limited set of needs that you think are important to fulfill. Express insights you developed and define principles

Storyboards, scenarios, user journeys, and role playing are likely to work well – It is important to be fast, and for designs to be just good enough to get the kind of feedback needed to drive the project forward.

Find out more about techniques for defining the user and their journeys. Defining user journeys early means better understanding of the product at large.


Focus on idea generation. Translate problems into solutions. Explore a wide variety and large quantity of ideas to go beyond the obvious solutions  to a problem. Combine the unconscious with rational thoughts and imagination. Leverage the group to reach out new ideas and build upon others’. Separate the generation and evaluation of ideas to give imagination a voice.

Reframing is a useful technique for “getting out of a rut” (generating alternatives during brainstorming). What to do if you get stuck. – E.g. ‘power of 10’ technique. Change the context by increasing or decreasing a critical parameter by a power of ten e.g. if a typical assumption for time allowance would be 2-3hrs, what if we have 15mins, or what if there was 1 day spread over a week? Or add/remove a whole parameter e.g. what if you need not be present at all?

Find out more about different techniques for ideation.

Prototype and test

Build to think. Find a simple, cheap and fast way to shape ideas so you can experience and interact with them. Start building. Create an artefact in low resolution. This can be a physical object or a digital clickable sketch. Do it quickly and dirty. Create a scenario you can role play in a physical environment and let people experience your solution using storyboards.

Transmediation (translating an idea from one media into another) is a creative process. Making an abstract idea (sketch) concrete (giving form of interactive wireframe), and reflecting on it, makes us aware of new possibilities and provides alternative translations to the problem at hand.

Ask for feedback on your prototypes. Learn about your user and their aptitudes. Reframe your view and refine your prototype. Show your idea and let people use your prototype. Give it in their hands and let them use it. Listen to what they say. Let people talk about how they experience it and how they feel.

An experience provides a basis for useful feedback, a prototype should be sufficient to get the kind of feedback required, and drive the design forward. Knowledge is created by the transformation of experience.

Find out more about different techniques for testing and prototyping.

In essence

Emphasize with your user, know their intuition, recognise their patterns, understand their emotional intelligence and encourage interdisciplinary collaboration. To address complex, emotionally meaningful issues creatively and impactfully do NOT over-rely upon rational and analytical data, though these are important, of course.

What really helps is the suitable brief system – a framework, objectives and milestones that accommodate for change (NOT instructions and pre-emptive solutions). Work with teams of teams with small, focussed outputs, especially early on. Avoid big teams with unfocussed outputs.

Establish a team culture, encourage experimentation and take risks to explore.  Do and ask forgiveness later (NOT ask permission before you start). Rely on optimism, confidence and trust (NOT cynicism). Be accessible and encourage participation.