The final step, but not necessarily the last in the design thinking process, is Test. In this stage, we will give our design to a third person, who has never seen the design before, and this person is going to use the product. In this way, it is easy to find out if the user has trouble, and we will see which problems they are facing. We use our analyses and go back into the design process, whether it is back to the Empathy or Define phase etc.
Testing products is not as easy as it seemed, we as designers depend on the testers. The more comments they leave while testing the product, the more valuable it is. However, there are several reasons for users to give not honest feedback. One big problem for the users is that they do not want to hurt your feelings. When they know you designed the product and put much effort into it, they will give you positive feedback no matter what their opinion is. An easy way to avoid this is by saying you are testing the product for a third party. Now they know they are not directly hurting you, and it is easier for them to be honest. Besides, sometimes the testers think they got tested, they will give different feedback than they would typically provide. When we examine our systems or products, we have to be very clear to the testers, that we are not testing them but the product.
The feedback of users is valuable because sometimes we as users can become blind to the functionality. During the process, we added too many features to the product, and the product became hard to use. The product has to be relevant and letting users test them let us understand the user’s needs better. A design that is not relevant to its target audience will never be a success. The key to designing a relevant product is validating your ideas with users continuously. Ask them during the process what they think of your design, what the essential part of the product is, and what they would change. This will allow you to go in the right direction again and to make early changes.
In our design thinking process, we created a silly, funny app without purpose or relevance. We tested our app by showing them to classmates. They used the app and told us what was going on in their mind. In this way, we as producers saw what the user was experiencing, we saw how they misused some functions and how they preferred some buttons over others. This data was very helpful; it allowed us to go back into the design thinking process and refine the problems. We have to accept that the first time we test something, it is not going to be perfect. There are always things we have to change in the design, and that is okay. Failure makes us better designers; we learn what to do better next time. At the end of observing and thinking of improvements, we start to redesign our app and to remove unnecessary buttons, which made the app more comfortable to use. We can test our product again and see if it’s easier to use now or if it’s still too complicated. We might need to come up with new ideas and start the whole design process again. This can feel defeated, but keep in mind all the time we spend in the design thinking process, will give us valuable experiences and knowledge in becoming a great designer.