There are quite a few reasons people come to us for a website build or redesign. Maybe they want to look more professional, showcase products and services, grow their business, and the list goes on. Ultimately, those reasons are all pieces to the greater goal, to achieve an increase in sales and profit.
So how do we get from the need of having a website to a finished product? At BrandCraft, we approach every website build with “design thinking” or focusing on the user and their needs.
What Is Design Thinking?
In essence, the design thinking process is iterative, flexible, and focused on collaboration between designers and users. This is all with an emphasis on bringing ideas to life based on how real users think, feel, and behave. It provides a solution-based approach by exploring specific key elements. It is more than a process but a long-term way of thinking that will elevate any design or creative system.
How Design Thinking is Used in Website Builds
Design thinking is a mix of the following components that will increase the likelihood of users sticking around and acting to ultimately help the business’ bottom line.
Empathize & Define
The first step is to understand the target audience by putting yourself in their shoes. Don’t assume you know what someone else thinks or feels. Designing a website for a restaurant? Visit the space and take in what is happening around you. Consider creating a customer journey map and conducting interviews or surveys. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to any website so find the solutions that respond to your target audience’s needs.
Now’s the chance to take the information you’ve gleaned from the previous step and compile it into actionable ideas. Remember that you are not creating this website for the client or yourself, it’s a unique approach for your users. We typically will sketch and wireframe overarching design concepts to determine required features and pages that need to be included. This will instruct our information architecture (IA) that organizes site content and functionality. Importantly, be sure to check out competitors— it’s good to be aware of what’s going on in relevant industries. What are they doing? What inspiration can you gain from them? Maybe this will give the insight to approach the problem differently.
Prototype & Test
Time for everything to come together in the form of visuals. We’ve got the facts and the research advising us, now let’s make the site look good and function well. Create prototypes of a couple of pages to establish your design system (type styles, active/inactive/hover states, buttons, etc.) and overall look and feel. Realize this is a process and engage both internal teams and the client along the way to review. Next, ask questions, and revisit goals and your target audience. Can the user easily interact and navigate? Are calls to action clear and easily accessed? You may need to go back to the ideation phase to come up with new ideas based on what you’ve learned from your prototypes.
Collaboration Above All
I want to make sure and point out the power of a team throughout this process. The whole point of design thinking is to fuse a variety of different perspectives and ideas and our website process wouldn’t come together successfully if it was a one-man show. Most importantly, each of these components should have a variety of people involved.
The Importance of Design Thinking
A website is not separate from the rest of the business and is a very important piece that can bring great value if executed correctly. Avoid “pushing pretty pixels” and approach your next website build by focusing on the user with design thinking.
Remember design thinking tackles complex problems by:
- Empathizing: Understanding the human needs involved.
- Defining: Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways.
- Ideating: Creating many ideas in ideation sessions.
- Prototyping: Adopting a hands-on approach in prototyping.
- Testing: Developing a testable solution to the problem.
Whether you’re revamping an old site or generating a new one, BrandCraft can help with all your design needs. Contact us today for a free consultation.