Design thinking process steps in a nutshell


The design thinking process is the problem-solving approach to help people meet their goals. The process motivates organizations to focus on users who will use the final product they’re creating for.

This process helps to understand the user needs and generate solutions more quickly.

Also known as Human-centered design or User experience design. Anyone can easily apply the design thinking process steps to solve any complex problem that occurs around them.

Every innovative company in the world uses some form of design thinking.

5 Design thinking process steps

01 – Empathy


To empathize means understanding and share the user’s emotions and needs for whom you are making a problem-solving product.

This step includes

  • Collecting as much information as possible from the user
  • Taking open-ended user interviews in detail
  • What are their real problems?

Take interviews by preparing the right questions and try to understand user’s behavior towards any difficulties they are facing.

Gather as much information as you can in this step to get a very clear and deep understanding of the user.

02 – Define


In this step, you carefully analyze all the information and insights, you gathered in a empathize stage. A sufficient user database can help you immensely to understand the real problems of the user.

Find common patterns from the user’s data and study their pain points which then helps to create possible innovative solutions.

Creating a user’s persona is the next step in this stage. A user persona is nothing but a fictional representation of your perfect customer.

It is based on user research and defines the goals, age, habits, needs, etc of your target audience. Before creating a persona, do enough research that perfectly matches your ideal customer.

03 – Idea


During this stage, the designer’s team is now ready to start brainstorming and generate new ideas based on previously collected data. 

With these valuable insights into user’s background and behavior, your designers can go crazy and find as many ideas as possible. There are several techniques to generate innovative ideas such as – SCAMPER, Brainstorming, Mindmapping, Storyboarding, Sketching, etc.

You can use any idea generation technique as per your personal preference and liking. 

04 – Prototype

A prototype is a sample model of a product that is built to test a concept. It is a real, inexpensive working digital product or physical product, created to investigate solutions to the main problem. 

The design team can test and share the prototype with team members. Or it can be shared with the other group of people outside the team also. 

The goal of this prototyping stage is to experiment and identify the best possible solutions. The solutions can be either accepted, improved or rejected depending on the user’s experience and  behavior towards the product.

By the end of this important phase, the design team will have a better understanding and vision of a real user’s feelings, and thinking while interacting with the prototype.

05 – Testing


Testing is the final stage of a design process where you receive feedback from real users. This feedback is based on their experiences while using the product.

Designers precisely test the product. The filtering and removing unwanted elements from the product is done in this step. Based on the findings and insights, the designer can go back again to the define and prototyping stage to refine the end product.


Design thinking process steps are flexible and non-linear. It’s a collaborative effort between designers and real users. This method allows designers and creators to dive deep into the user’s complete thought process towards any specific problems they are facing.

The 5 design steps can be switched or repeated several times to reach out to the best possible solution.

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17 thoughts on “Design thinking process steps in a nutshell”

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