Make change less challenging: use the Double Diamond design approach
Whether you’re designing a chair, a website, or something else entirely, you shouldn’t do just jump in and start designing.
You need to find out what the chair, or website, is to be used for; how it will be used; how people will interact with it; what they expect from it. You don’t want to end up with a deckchair when what the customer really wants is a beanbag.
Similarly, you don’t want a website that technically has all the information required but is so complicated that users can’t navigate through it to find what they need.
The same goes for any project where what you’re designing sees a shift from the status quo.
Good design is not a simple knee-jerk reaction. Good design is the result of a good process. And this is where the Double Diamond comes in.
Find the right problem; design the right solution
It’s a concept developed by the Design Council, and is intended to communicate how designers approach design problems – any and all design problems – by devoting time to research and defining the problem upfront.
The discovery, or research phase, comes first, so you can understand the requirements and to get to the root of any problems.
We have to guard against making assumptions: incorrect assumptions can lead to problems.
Then we can start synthesising that research – making sense of it.
There will be data from analytics, perhaps feedback from customers, stories from users as to what isn’t right.
And then, instead of jumping to a solution, we come up with different ways of solving the problem until we find the best solution.
It’s important to go through this process. It doesn’t need to be lengthy but it does need to be done, because jumping straight into a solution might create more issues in the long run.
To give an example: at Fruto, we worked on updating a website for healthcare professionals.
There were two particular challenges. Firstly, the website had been in use for 15-20 years and looked very dated. Secondly, the client wanted to attract a new generation of users who would expect a better user experience.
Very often the client is certain that they know what the problem is, but we take a step back and take the time to follow the Double Diamond process.
With this project, we conducted user interviews with specialist doctors and GPs to discover how the website fitted into the context of their work in medical consultations. We wanted to make sure that we understood their needs and their expectations.
In the second phase of the diamond, we came up with various concepts and then designed the website in order of priority of requirements.
The result was a consistent, well-designed website, with a happy client and happy users.
Challenging the traditional design approach
Design studios tend to work with corporations, often as an extension of their team, providing extra UX and UI capacity, as well as fresh eyes and fresh energy.
We can help clients with their design operations and with hands-on projects, helping you work out how best to integrate user experience into the design process.
That’s known to be challenging because it’s a change from the traditional way of doing things.
Prioritising the user
The traditional approach is to be engineering-led, not user-led. Depending on the UX maturity of an organisation, teams may be sceptical of the user-led approach, wanting to see results quickly, assuming that they already know the answers and that engaging with users will take too much time.
They think that jumping straight into a solution is quicker. But that’s an illusion. In fact, the Double Diamond approach can save time, because you avoid creating a design that users don’t value or need.
Designing the right change solution
Without the rigour of the Double Diamond method, you risk introducing unnecessary levels of complexity, which could ultimately mean you missing out in the marketplace or creating a solution that is too complicated. And more complexity means more calls to the support team because users don’t understand the interface.
All this can be avoided by taking the time and thought to create the right solution in the first place.
So, engage the users in the design process, use the Double Diamond approach in your design methodology, and change need not be too much of a challenge after all.