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  • Writer's pictureDiksha Pandey

The Final Stage: Testing in Design Thinking

Updated: Aug 10, 2022

What Is Testing In The Design Thinking Process?

“Design thinking is where inspiration, ideation, and implementation meets the need and value of the customer through the non-linear process”. It is a liquid process that is repetitive and flexible. Every step of design thinking can be repeated at the time of failure.

Trying out the prototype designed during the process of design thinking in order to get user feedback and its effect on the user is testing. It focuses on what the customer wants and lets the customer compare the alternative designed.

This is the final phase that helps the management to rethink and find other prototype solutions further in case of failure or requirement of improvement.

The testing stage could reverse the process to defining stage or ideation if the test results are not as per expectation.

Testing provides many learning opportunities to the designer that helps them to learn more about users and opportunities to refine your prototype.

It also helps in redefining the problem statement if the research finds any flaws during testing. Focus during testing should be the prototype, the context, and the scenario depending on how you interact with the user and how you collect and observe the feedback.

To know more

What Is The Purpose Of Testing In Design Thinking?

User compare alternatives:

Let your user compare alternatives, by creating multiple prototypes with changes in variables. This will help the user to compare and select the one that is more preferable for them. It is easy for the user to decide if they like or not like the prototype when they compare rather than having one option.

User experience the prototype:

The purpose of building a prototype in the design thinking process is to give the experience of the product to the customer before handling the final solution. While experiencing the prototype let the prototype speak for itself, do not over-explain the process.

Observe the user:

Observation is the main tool in the process of testing. Observing the user while interacting with the prototype is important to make sure that the user is using it in the correct way. User mistakes are also valuable learnings for the designer. Never test the user, test the prototype.

Let the user talk about their experience:

Getting the feedback of the customer in order to make improvements is the main focus of the designer in the prototyping step of design thinking. Make the user comfortable with the prototype and the environment, ask questions about how they feel while they are interacting with the prototype. Keep a follow-up by asking questions after the user is done with the prototype.

Making the learning out of failure

Design thinking focuses on learning from failures. If the user finds any difficulty while interacting with the prototype the designer has to go back to find a new potential solution. User testing helps in finding any unconsidered aspect of the problem which can be corrected before the final product is made.

What Are The Different Types Of Testing?

User testing:

Design thinking focuses on empathic design which depends on the feedback of the user through testing. In developing a new or updated product, service, or business plan the focus must be on testing it earlier and often.

It is a practice wherein the design is used with a group of representative users to test how easily the design can be used. It involves observing the user while completing a task and recording the feedback.

It is conducted for earlier stage production until the product release. It helps in identifying the flaws the designer misses otherwise.

Recruiting testers:

User testing involves selecting representative users from a segment of the population, and learning more about them so that we can build better products and services for everyone.

Depending on the time and cost you want to invest in the cycle of testing your ideas frequently with as many people as possible. This kind of convenience sampling is an effective preliminary idea validation technique and it requires minimal overhead.

Recruiting online:

Recruiting users online works wonders for designers. The first step is to select the online testers who can represent the future users, and then decide whom you must need to talk to.

The designer can invest a small amount of time to create a go-to panel of research participants for your design project. Another way to recruit users is to involve social media communication channels. Social media gives results in minutes for a quick and simple prototype.

In-person Testing:

You need to clarify your goals like what you want to learn, what is the purpose of the research, the area of research, etc in order to implement in-person testing.

Be specific about what you are testing and decide on your question while asking the user to complete the task. Points like time, location, and duration are very important in this type of testing.

Testing via Secondary Research:

When you have constraints like timeline and budget for primary testing it is better to go for secondary research rather than not conducting any research. FAQ, blogs comments, testimonials, app reviews, social media comments, and questions are some of the techniques of secondary research testing.

What Are The Areas Of The Test To Be Considered?

The Prototype: The prototype should be designed keeping in mind that you are testing the prototype, not the user. The researcher should not be judgmental while performing the test. Once the idea is developed as a prototype, testing it on the earlier stage frequently helps to cover the areas of review that the researcher may have missed out.

Situation & Future happenings: Future is unpredictable, keeping this in mind recreate the situations so that you can learn more about the feedback or interaction between users, the prototype & the problem that may arise in the future. Keeping in mind the changes that may occur the researcher must be ready with a solution.

Do not disturb the user: Design thinking focuses on observing and collecting feedback in such a way that the user is not disturbed while interacting with the prototype. Do not over-explain the process, this can lead to certain limitations in the mind of the user regarding the process of the prototype.

Interaction with the users: Users should be aware of the prototype and the test. The motive and the process of the test must be clear in the mind of the customer this would help in collecting actual feedback. Make the user comfortable and maintain a healthy environment.

Why Is The Testing Phase Important In Design Thinking?

The testing phase is one of the most important stages in design thinking. It allows you to again empathize with the user to collect feedback regarding the solution.

If used correctly it can be implemented at every phase of the design thinking process. It focuses on testing the real problem the right way so that the team does not waste time fixing the wrong thing.

This in the end results in cost reduction and time management for the organization. The process of design thinking helps the team to work on the right problem faced by the user and result in gaining experience and values for the customer.

Design thinking creates value for the customer. Values are created when the customer is happy with the product. Happy customer results in less support needed wherein the user when not familiar or happy asks the same set of questions again and again.

When testing is done within the organization where the organization people behave like customers and result in biased feedback due to influence or sometimes fear. When testing is done on real users remove bias and the team gets the correct negative or positive feedback.

While conducting a test the team can observe users efficiently and then discover the reasons making the customer uncomfortable. This helps in identifying the reason where and why they don't convert into a valuable customer.

Wrap Up

The Design Thinking process is the most flexible as its different stages often feed into one another and form related loops. It is not necessary to follow any sequence in any project.

Every time you have a different approach while following the process of design thinking following its principles. The mission of the designer is to develop a product that the user finds easy and friendly to be used.

Design thinking develops a room through testing wherein the customer and the product are in the same space. This allows the designer to carry out the test in a familiar and natural environment which results in the correct response.

Any negative response could be considered as learning and an area of impoverishment for the organization. Design thinking is the adequate combination of feasibility, desirability, variability wherein customer needs meet technology and business needs.

This phase of design thinking helps you to evaluate the products and services with the target audience behavior which results in a human-centric product or service.

At this stage, the prototype is tested in the end user. If the user is satisfied the prototype is finalized and goes for production. In case of dissatisfaction, the whole process is repeated.

The design thinking team has the opportunity to collect feedback and observe the end-user in order to collect data for further decisions. Testing is more effective when you provide alternatives to the customer.

The team needs to develop several prototypes which are different from each other. This helps the customer to select which one they like and which does not.

Before testing the prototype explain the purpose of the test, for which the solution is being developed. Then leave the user with the prototype and let him experience it.

Note down the observation without entering into the user environment. Ask the customer about their experience and let his voice become your feedback. Compare the observation with the word of mouth and derive the result.


What Is User Testing In Design Thinking?

Ans. User testing is testing how comfortable is the user while interacting with the prototype through observations. It focuses on how easily a design can be used by the set of users.

What Is The Difference Between User Testing And Usability Testing?

Ans. User testing is about understanding the needs of the future user about a product or service, whereas usability testing is testing the product and its functional effect on the user. We focus on the prototype tests, not the user.

What Is The Stage Of User Testing?

Ans. The testing stage involves targeting the end-user to interact with the prototype and collecting valuable information. It focuses on making learning out of mistakes.

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