Navigating design strategy as product designer

Navigating design strategy as product designer

A framework is something's basic structure. It is a collection of ideas or facts that support something. A framework, in the case of business problems, creates the basic structure that gives focus and support to the problem you're attempting to solve.

The Design Thinking framework is a user-centered approach to problem solving that includes activities such as research, prototyping, and testing to assist you in understanding your user and their problems, as well as what your design entails.

Empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test are the phases of the Design Thinking framework.

  1. Empathize

The primary goal of the empathize phase is to learn more about the user and their problems, wants, and needs, as well as the environment or context in which they will experience your design.

The most important aspect of the empathize phase is to step away from your assumptions and guesses and allow your research findings to inform your decision-making in subsequent design phases.

User surveys, interviews, and observation sessions may be part of your user research. And you may also need to conduct some research on competitors' products to determine how your user frames competitors' products as part of their daily life and daily problem-solving.

2. Define

It's time to compile the information gathered during the Empathize stage. Then, you analyze and synthesize your observations to define the core issues that you and your team have identified.

This information can also be termed problem statements. Before moving on to ideation, you can create personas to help keep your efforts human-centered.
The most important result of this phase is a well-defined problem statement, which describes the user's needs that your designs will address. You could also create a value proposition, which summarises why your target user would or should use the product or service you're designing.

3. Ideate

It's time to ideate after you've identified a user problem and determined why it's important to solve. The goal of ideation is to generate as many design solutions as possible—don't settle for the obvious solution because it isn't always the best one.
Ideation entails brainstorming with other members of your team to generate as many solutions to a problem as possible. Marketing, engineering, product management, and any other stakeholders for the product or service could be included. During this time, brainstorming plays a number of important roles.

4. Prototype

This is an experimental phase. The goal is to find the best solution for each problem that is discovered. To investigate the ideas you've generated, your team should create some low-cost, scaled-down versions of the product (or specific features found within the product).

Prototypes can take many different forms, ranging from simple sketches and storyboards to rough paper prototypes and even role-playing prototypes that enact a service offering. They don't have to be finished products; in fact, you can prototype a component of a finished product to test that component of your solution. Prototypes are frequently quick and rough – designed for early-stage testing and understanding – and at times full-formed and detailed – aimed for pilot trials near the end of the project.

5. Test

The testing phase is the final and the most critical stage of the design process. The design team meets with real users to gain insights and valuable feedback. "Test early, test frequently," as the phrase goes in UX design.

Rather than assuming that your prototypes are correct, the user-centered design uses this testing technique to ensure that people understand the features and can easily navigate the product.

UX teams generally test high-fidelity prototypes with a target audience connected with the personas created during the empathy phase in usability tests.

These usability studies validate the work and concepts completed by designers in the preceding stages of the design thinking process. It can also reveal design problems, prompting designers to return to the empathy phase with insights and make corrections where needed.


The Design Thinking framework is only one type of framework that UX designers use to organize their approach to designs, often based on the product they’re designing and the organization they’re working for. No matter which frameworks you use in your career, they all have a few core principles in common:

  • Focus on the user.
  • Create solutions that address the user’s problems.
  • Collaborate with teammates across departments.
  • Validate your designs.
  • Iterate as needed to design the right user experience.