Why is Design Thinking Essential for Software Development?

In recent years, be it in the architectural field or the software development industry, companies try to focus more on people and their needs. They try to build connections with their customers and work on finding solutions to effectively meet those requirements. 

One of the key approaches that companies embrace to achieve this goal is to adopt a Design Thinking process. It’s a customer-first approach to design experiences, products, strategies, processes, services, etc. It employs an iterative, hands-on approach to building innovative solutions. 

What exactly is design thinking and how does it help in improving the customer experience of a software product? Let’s find out in the latter section of this article. 

To put it in layman’s terms, design thinking is a philosophy and a set of tools to resolve a problem creatively. The entire process revolves around a deep interest in understanding people, and their needs, and building a solution accordingly. 

While a product is built, the design thinking practice is adopted simultaneously through continuous experimentation- sketches, prototypes, trials & testing of ideas or concepts. When practicing design thinking, the development team puts itself into the shoes of customers to realize their actual problems, and challenges, and identify a fair solution to deliver an immersive experience. It focuses more on finding a solution rather than a problem.

What are the Major Steps in the Design Thinking Process? 

Design Thinking is an iterative approach and is executed in stages. The five major steps involved in the design thinking process are:

  1. Empathize
  2. Define
  3. Ideate
  4. Prototype
  5. Test

These are not a particular flow or a set of patterns that you must follow in order to achieve the end goal. These steps are very flexible in nature, so you can implement them at any stage of software development. So the following steps are: 



  1. Empathizing with the userThis step includes understanding the people you are trying to design the product or the service for. The areas in focus include: 
    • Information gathering 
    • End-user interviews
    • Finding the target audience
    • Creating personas
    • Designing maps
    • Visualizing end-to-end journey 

    It’s about empathizing with the people you are designing for. 

  2. Define– Everything that’s learned in stage1 (i.e. empathize) is implemented in this stage. Once the problem is identified and defined, it is broken down into smaller chunks to make it more understandable. This helps to conclude the users’ problems, needs, and challenges to derive the insights that can be used as information.
  3. Ideation– Ideation is one of the most interesting stages of design thinking. In this stage, the aim is to generate numerous ideas to resolve a problem. These ideas are then filtered and cut down into the best and most practical ones to better design products and solutions.
  4. Prototype– This stage of design thinking involves selecting your best ideas out of hundreds, connecting the dots, sketching up your solutions, and then turning these ideas into testable prototypes. It is basically a blueprint of the final product, it is not fully designed or coded but rather a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to showcase the foundation.
  5. Test– In this stage of design thinking, the ability of ideas to resolve problems is tested. The process goes on repeatedly until the desired goal is achieved. Because of this core cycle, design thinking is called an iterative process.

Bring Innovation To Your Workspace 


Design thinking is not a set of instructions that you must follow to achieve your goal, rather it is a mindset combined with multiple exercises to choose the right solution to a problem. 

Moreover, most of the software products that are developed using the traditional development approach do not consider the user data, thus resulting in lower user engagement, retention rates, and CLV (customer lifetime value). 

At Unthinkable, our core ideology is to make the user a part of our software development process from the beginning and gain actionable insights at every stage of the development cycle to make real-time iterations. 

One of the innovative examples of how we implement design thinking for building immersive experiences is Fimbre. This community-based recommendation solution has won MUSE Creative Award for its innovative customer experience. 

So, if you want to bring innovation to your business plan and need a creative partner then we are here to assist you. Book a free consultation with us now.


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