Expert Blog: Improving the Customer Journey Using Design Thinking

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What’s design pondering, and why do we want it?

Theorized by the Stanford d.faculty in the course of the 1980’s, design pondering is a technique that mixes a lot of what designers have already got of their toolkits; deep empathy for his or her customers, willingness to experiment, and problem-solving. Utilizing this thinking-based framework, you’ll be able to enhance your buyer’s journey primarily based on what they actually deeply want, as an alternative of counting on purely historic knowledge or the whims of your instinct.


Empathy is on the core of the design pondering system. Empathy is entering into the mindset of a consumer with a clear slate, no prior information or earlier conceptions clouding your ideas. You will need to put your self into the sneakers of a complete newbie to find new consumer wants and present roadblocks. Moreover imagining your self as a consumer, you also needs to seek the advice of specialists within the discipline, gathering as a lot data as your time permits. What you uncover can typically be painful, realizing your product isn’t as excellent as you thought, but it surely’s a mandatory a part of the method.

For instance, when the Stanford d.faculty first began educating design pondering, a crew of scholars was assigned the very real-world downside of toddler mortality from hypothermia – a typical downside in third world nations. With out utilizing empathy, the crew first considered designing a more cost effective incubator for hospitals to afford. After actively utilizing empathy, they realized many dad and mom in these affected nations practiced at-home births, both on account of value or just because a hospital could also be 30+ miles away. On prime of not getting access to a hospital, they might additionally not have entry to electrical energy, rendering their first concept moot. The answer wasEmbrace, a transportable, hot-water heated incubator that resembles a tiny sleeping bag to maintain the newborns heat in harsh climates. Embrace is now a full-fledged firm of over 90 folks and has helped over 3,000 infants worldwide.

You may join your buyer journey to design pondering by merely ranging from the very starting. For our instance, we’ll be Becca, a buyer desirous to order some pizza on a Friday evening. You personal a pizza parlor that occurs to be proper across the nook from Becca. Earlier to design pondering, you might assume your restaurant would naturally be the primary alternative as she possible passes by your institution each day. Utilizing empathy, and placing your self in Becca’s mindset, you might uncover that she begins her search on her cellphone for the perfect pizza within the space. Relying on the variety of optimistic critiques you’ve gotten, how rapidly she will discover your menu on-line, and the way simple the net ordering course of is, Becca may not choose your institution for her pizza wants. It’s essential uncover all these elements that would sway her choice to your rivals after which alter the client journey accordingly.


The outline part means that you can analyze your findings from the empathy part and amalgamate them into an issue assertion, within the type of a perspective (POV).

A POV solutions 3 questions:

  1. Who’s your consumer? (as detailed as you may make it)
  2. What’s their unsolved want?
  3. Why is that this profound?

The outline step is about reframing your organization’s needs into your buyer’s wants. GE Healthcare, for example, was having issues with their MRI scanner and their pediatric sufferers. Except the kids would keep very nonetheless, the scans would typically take for much longer than wanted, and will probably want a complete rescan. Pediatric sufferers moving into for MRI scans can be very scared and anxious, because of the starkness of rooms, hospital lighting, and the unbelievable cacophony the machine outputs. Sufferers must be unnecessarily sedated simply to get a scan completed.

When reframing it by means of their affected person’s downside as an alternative: “Youngsters who’re sick must really feel as snug as doable with eased anxiousness when present process MRI scans”, innovation occurs. The outcomes had been their Journey Collection Rooms, showcased on the College of Pittsburg Hospital. Room themes included a pirate journey the place youngsters had been requested to stroll the plank to be scanned, an underwater room with disco bubble lights the place youngsters would enter a yellow submarine and take heed to harp music whereas being scanned, or a camp-themed one the place youngsters are scanned in a comfortable sleeping bag below a stargazing setting.

When writing your POV, it ought to comprise these parts:

  • Reframe the issue out of your customers’ perspective.
  • Inspiration for innovation.
  • Slender sufficient so you aren’t fixing each downside for each particular person.

For our article’s instance, POV would possibly look one thing like this: “Becca is a 27-year outdated feminine who offers with a full work week and a busy commute by public transit. She wants a method to order native pizza rapidly from her cellphone, and as painless as doable.”

Together with your POV written, you’ll be capable of put collectively key elements and options of your resolution.


The ideate stage, typically essentially the most enjoyable, is the place you brainstorm and generate concepts out of your gathered knowledge and POV. When brainstorming, write down any and all concepts to maintain your ideas flowing and stimulate inventive problem-solving. Alex Osborn, additionally calledFather of The Brainstorm, created 2 easy guidelines for a profitable brainstorm:

  1. Defer judgment: Particularly when brainstorming with a crew or group, nobody must be criticized for arising with one thing thought-about wild or outrageous. Shoot for the celebs!

Attain for amount: The extra concepts, the extra possible one thing revolutionary will come up.

To assist produce concepts, use your POV as a basis for creating “How would possibly we…” statements to fixing your consumer’s downside. Utilizing our POV of Becca, you could possibly give you one thing like: “How would possibly we make ordering pizza an incredible expertise on her cellphone with out having to name our restaurant?” Or “How would possibly we make ordering pizza whereas on public transit simple, so she may have her pizza prepared by the point she reaches our restaurant?”

After you have all of your concepts written down, you’ll be able to start narrowing them down and transfer onto prototyping.


The most important intention of this experimental part of design-thinking is to drill all the way down to the very best resolution by means of iterations of prototypes. For larger firms, the prototype part is principally helmed by designers and engineers. That is additionally alternative to check out competing options that got here out of the ideate part in a real-world manner as an alternative of arguing within the brainstorm periods.

A non-profit meal service in Denmark, the Good Kitchen, used design-thinking at first to resolve on menu gadgets for his or her aged shoppers. By the prototyping part, they’d realized a lot it utterly modified their firm’s meal service plan. By means of prototyping, they found much less meals could possibly be wasted by making their menu extra modulated.

Previous to design-thinking, the Good Kitchen pre-packed bigger meals, combining gadgets like meats, starches, greens, and sauces all collectively. They discovered their prospects had been a lot happier with the pliability and management of getting every of this stuff separated so they may construct their meals, in case somebody wasn’t a fan of potatoes or needed extra greens as an alternative.

For our use case of Becca, the restaurant may attempt designing fast mockups of an internet site or cellular app to see which one has the least friction to undertake, which one would value the least, which one can be the quickest to launch, and finally, which one resolves their customers’ downside the perfect.

Take a look at

The final part of design pondering is to carry your prototype into the actual world and take a look at early and as typically as you’ll be able to within the design course of. Goals for testing are:

  1. What particularly are you testing?
  2. What do you wish to discover out?

These aims will dictate the form of folks you set collectively for testing, the atmosphere you take a look at in, the forms of questions you ask, and the way you’ll gauge your success.

For good take a look at customers, you need recruits to have the ability to perceive the objective of the venture and have the flexibility to voice their opinions clearly. A bonus is somebody who has no prior information of your organization or model, so that you get to work with a clean canvas.

You’ll wish to take a look at your recruits in as near a real-life setting as doable. Most significantly, you need your take a look at to have little defined by you. Let your customers discover and determine their manner by means of the target. Your objective is to watch any challenges or hindrances they face whereas testing, alternatives for enchancment, and any successes.

For our instance, the restaurant may uncover that although the web site can be faster to entry, the app had the potential for a speedy on-line ordering course of that was mobile-friendly. One other discovery could possibly be that their chosen icon for cellular ordering wasn’t intuitive, so they might return to the prototyping part and check out a special, extra distinct icon. It is also one thing so simple as a button shade not being apparent sufficient, inflicting some slowdown within the ordering course of.

Design pondering is iterative and non-linear

You will need to do not forget that at any level within the design pondering course of, you’ll be able to, and may, return to totally different phases to restart the method once more. Design pondering is completely non-linear. Discovering new alternatives for enchancment, discovering a special POV, or a brand new breakpoint to check, is the entire level of design pondering and permits for essentially the most innovation.


That is our latest weblog sequence that includes knowledgeable opinion and expertise from Bizness Apps staff in all departments. We intention to seize rising developments and challenges in gross sales, advertising, design, and product improvement. This weblog put up is contributed by our Senior Graphic Designer, Roquelle “Rocky” Beck. You may catch Rocky sprinkling design pop all all through Bizness Apps and after hours, getting her palms soiled in her mini-farm or lifting the heaviest barbell she will discover.


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