You’ve empathized with your users and determined their pain points. Now you’re ready to start thinking of ways to solve your user’s problems. Ideating is an exciting step in your journey as a UX designer!
As a reminder, design ideation is the process of generating a broad set of ideas on a given topic without judging or evaluating them. When you start thinking of ideas, you want to come up with as many as possible. The aim is to generate lots of ideas, even ones that may seem ridiculous at first. Sometimes your most outrageous idea will turn into a great and unique solution!
Preparing for ideation
Before you start design ideation, you’ll need to do a bit of prep work.
Empathize with your user. Empathizing is the first step in the design process. You need to know who you’re solving for and what their needs are. You empathized with your user already by creating empathy maps, personas, user stories, and user journey maps.
Define the problem. Defining is the second step in the design process. The problem you’re trying to solve should be well-defined, so that everyone on your team can think of ideas to solve the same problem. Knowing exactly what problem you need to solve will also keep your users’ needs top-of-mind.
Establish a creative environment. You’ll need a comfortable space where everyone on your team can get together and present their ideas. If you’re meeting in person, choose an ideation space that’s different from your usual workspace. If you’re ideating virtually, try to find a different space in your home that’s free of clutter and distractions.
Set a time limit. There are an endless number of possible products and features you could design, so give yourself plenty of time to come up with ideas. However, you can’t brainstorm forever, so you’ll also need to set a time to stop brainstorming and start thinking more deeply about the ideas you’ve come up with.
Assemble a diverse team. You’re trying to come up with as many different ideas as possible. An inclusive team of people, with different races, genders, abilities, and backgrounds, will help you come up with all kinds of solutions.
Think outside the box. Don’t limit yourself to traditional ideas and solutions. If you have a cool idea that seems a little different, write it down! Think big and get creative while ideating.
There’s no right or wrong way to practice design ideation. There are many techniques you can use to come up with ideas. If you want to learn more, check out this article from CareerFoundry, A Guide To The Most Important Ideation Techniques, which highlights some common design ideation techniques. Once you start ideating for your own projects, you may even come up with your own version of one of these techniques!
The importance of design ideation
While design ideation can take a significant amount of time, it’s also a lot of fun! You’ll generate many possible solutions, and you’ll end up using one, or a few, of your original ideas. This is perfectly normal in the UX design process, and it’s an exciting part of the working with a team. Narrowing down many ideas to a couple of great ones is very rewarding.
Design ideation encourages you to come up with solutions that are unique. Don’t settle for your first solution. In fact, the first few solutions you suggest are often the least creative because they’re the most obvious. When generating ideas, you should use your creative powers to their full potential.
Following the design process outlined in this certificate program will lay the foundation for your product’s design. The more effort you put into empathizing with your users, defining the problems they’re facing, and coming up with ideas for solutions, the better your end result will be.
If you’re excited to learn more, check out IDEO’s Design Thinking website for a deeper understanding of how to think like a designer.