Blog Articles
Our workBest Practices

Human-centered design: How we use design thinking to improve client outcomes

Summary: Design thinking is a methodology that places our project teams and our clients in the shoes of the most important stakeholder: the audience. Through workshops, research, prototyping, and testing, we create more resonant user experiences for all.

What is design thinking? 

Design thinking is a human-focused problem-solving technique that is used across many industries, including digital. The process consists of five basic steps: Empathy, Definition, Conceptualization, Prototyping and Testing. 

Each step is carefully considered and the process is iterative, meaning that the team can go back and refine an idea if necessary. The design thinking approach puts user needs at the forefront, so meaningful solutions can be generated. 

How Reason One uses design thinking

At Reason One, we use the design thinking process to create innovative digital solutions that meet our client's needs and delight their users. Here's how it works: 

Empathize/Discovery Phase: The first step is to empathize with both the client and their users. This involves conducting research, interviews, Workshops and context sessions to understand their needs, challenges, and goals. As an agency, we use a variety of research methods, including user surveys and website analytics, to gather insights about the client's audience and their needs. 

Define/Definition Phase: Once we have gathered insights from the research and discovery sessions, the next step is to define the problem that needs to be solved. This involves creating a clear and concise problem statement that captures the client's needs and the user's pain points. We use tools such as persona development and user journey mapping to help define the problem. 

Ideate/Solutioning: The ideation phase involves brainstorming solutions to the defined problem. During this phase, we generate a number of ideas and solutions, and select the most promising ones that will address the problem we are trying to solve. 

Prototype/Concept phase: We bring the ideas to life by creating low-fidelity and high-fidelity prototypes of the selected ideas. We use tools like Miro for low fidelity wireframes and Figma for high fidelity wireframes. We use this to iterate, engage with clients and refine the design. 

Test/User Validation: The final step for us in this process is to test the prototypes with the client and their users. Testing helps us validate the design and identify areas for improvement in-view of the technical development of the solution. We use methods such as user testing, A/B testing, and client workshops to gather feedback.  Once the user validation is complete, we refine the design and finalize the solution for development. 

This process is iterative, which means we can go back to any of the previous steps if necessary.  

Design thinking for Lee Health

We recently applied design thinking to the task of redesigning Lee Health’s homepage. 

First,  we worked closely with the client to figure out the challenges that users were having on the homepage. We also analyzed user behavior with HotJar heat maps, which revealed that people were clicking on text that wasn't a link, having a hard time finding their way around the navigation, and scrolling for too long due to the length of the page. 

Using the insights from the analysis, we accurately defined the problems of accessibility to information; widget, component, and text styles; and page length. 

Next, we brainstormed some possible solutions, including changes to the navigation styles, new components for new and relevant information, and a shorter page layout. To help bring the solutions to life, we created low-fidelity prototypes of the new design. 

We then tested the prototypes with the client and the team, gathered feedback, and did A/B testing to determine the best positions for the buttons on the navigation bar. Based on our outcomes and feedback, we refined the design and got the client's approval. 

The approved, launched design includes a modified navigation style, defined widget zones, new widgets, components and content governance structure. After launch, we have continued to monitor user feedback and make adjustments to optimize the user experience.

Design thinking for better user experiences

Design thinking helps us focus on understanding the needs, wants and behaviors of the website's users. Our clients reap a lot of benefits from the use of design thinking, including a better understanding of the people who use their website, better collaboration between stakeholders, increased innovation and creativity, faster time-to-market, and reduced risks. 

Want to learn more about how design thinking could help your digital project? Drop us a line!