Note: This is a guest article by Jesse Oguntimehin. More details about him after the post.
If you let people tell you what they want, they will change their mind by the time you serve them as they requested. — Steve Jobs [rephrased]
Definition – What is design thinking?
There may be different definitions to design. I have not taken a course in high school or college that has helped me define design. From observing trends and events around me, I have been able to come up with a definition.
By the way, the definitions in our text books are written by people who through observation, experience and doing were able to document what they experienced.
Design Thinking is a process and an art. It can be learnt through practice. It is when you can think for people and gives them what they want, even when they are not thinking that they might need it.
There are varied examples around us. Look at Steve Jobs, of Apple, for instance. He was renowned for saying that if you let people tell you what they want, they will change their mind by the time you serve them as they requested. This is a statement that can only come from a superior mind that knows design.
I am going to examine design thinking from a particular perspective—design thinking for online content producers. Are you creating an app, native or for mobile web? Is it a website? Are you writing a sales copy? Is it an email or an article on the blog? If you ignore design thinking, you are more likely to expend more energy with the least results.
How can you use design thinking to create excellent online contents?
I received a mail this evening. The email hit me like a thunderbolt.
I subscribe to a host of newsletters, many of which I hardly ever read. I open some and do not read past the first few paragraphs before deleting them. I guess you do too. But there was something about the construct and design of this particular email that made me read it from the beginning to the end. Let’s take a close look at the mail;
| “Do me a favor…”
See that? That was the opening. It hit me in the face and before I could recover, the next line was in my face…
| “Take a minute to imagine waking up each morning, going to your local coffee shop, and logging in to your computer.”
| “When it is powered up, you log in and notice you made thousands of dollars in profit… literally overnight, while you slept.”
He has stroke my imagination and aroused my emotion making me anticipate what comes next each time, as if he is telling me a story. Applying design, he anticipated that I may be in doubt, and then he came with the next line like he was reading my mind;
| “Think that’s just a pipe dream?”
| “Well, it is not. In fact, my friend Anthony did it and this video shows exactly how…”
You and I may not be as superb as this person in writing. Sterling has been in internet business for a long time and must have experimented widely on what works and what does not work—which is an element of design. Design is never perfect; there will always be room to make it better. Like Seth Godin once said; “It is never done.”
He had a goal in mind that was his guide in writing the email. He designed a process—design thinking—that will lead to the achievement of the ultimate goal, which is watching the video. Watching the video is still part of a process that will lead to yet another goal. The end goal may be buying a product.
An excellent design will consider the impact of each message and how it can necessitate the right action, as it did to me. This is obviously a work of several split testing over a period of time. In design thinking, you don’t predict effectively without first experimenting.
Why do you think Apple spends a lot of time and money in designing its products and the Apple store?
They have a goal in mind and used the design to achieve that. I have heard many Apple users comment on how they feel—emotion—each time they enter an Apple store.
Recently I made this comment; “Google is a geek and Apple is a fashion designer.” Do you think I am right?
What You Can Do Now
What online project are you planning or currently working on?
Take it out and observe what you hope to achieve, the different goals you hope to achieve at each stage. Do you have a specific design to evoke emotion and capture the attention of your visitors or prospective users?
It could be that you are a blogger. How do you construct your headings? Do you just write whatever you like or you craft it in a way that it will draw attention to what you have written?
Many nice articles with rich information are never discovered because the title was not punchy. (To create a punchy headline, you’ll have to experiment with different tittles and measure the responses you get).
Someone tries to visit your online portal from a mobile phone and he is directed to the web version instead of the mobile version. That may turn users away. You may not know until you measure it.
Using Google analytics or other measuring tools can help one collect data that can help in designing a better interaction path and if crating a better mobile web experience can increase visits and time spent on your online portal. If we cannot measure it, we cannot improve it.
I have only used blogging in this example. The process works for all online businesses. You could be running an e-commerce store, an application, or any other form of online solution.
Apply design thinking. This will ensure that you reach your goals better and get higher rate of conversion or activation—people who become customers or users.
Innovation is the most important aspect of any thriving business. Design thinking ought to be a key part of it to make it work.
So how do you use design thinking (aka creative thinking / thinking outside the box) to develop your business, marketing efforts, to keep existing customers and to prospect the new ones?
What are the other ploys that have been working for you to optimize your conversion rate (CRO)?
You’re welcome to discuss about it in the comments below.
Name: Jesse Oguntimehin
About: Jesse is a mobile and web technology writer and speaker. He blogs on start-ups in Africa and different web/mobile products on otekbits.com and as a freelancer. He loves his gadgets.
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Tags: attract customers, business innovation, conversion rate optimization, creative thinking, CRO, design thinking, internet marketing, marketing tips, sales prospecting, Social Media marketing, thinking outside the box
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