Design thinking revamps tech design from A to Z

June 23, 20174 Minute Read

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When you think about the most iconic and exciting tech, how'd it make you feel? Chances are it not only boasted awesome features and performance capabilities, but it also took your breath away because it was stunning to look at.

That's by design—and such artistry takes a lot of work and ingenuity behind the scenes. Today, much of the technology we obsess over and enjoy tinkering with at all hours of the day was created using a careful process known as design thinking. According to The Next Web, companies worldwide rely on this framework to innovate in areas ranging from product design to business process improvement and beyond.

We usually think of innovative technology as revolutionary and different from anything that's come before. It also typically possesses a certain X factor: an undeniably cool and perhaps futuristic appearance. On the surface, that may suggest a product that responds to our unstated or unconscious wants and desires.

But going about creating such technology is risky. Sometimes, tech innovation infuriates customers when it comes with glittering bells and whistles but fails to meet fundamental user needs. What makes the difference? In short, detailed and thorough user input throughout the design process.

The design approach

Design thinking believes that direct and ongoing feedback from users is essential for creating an effective and successful product. Any IT manager who's been involved in a project that didn't properly take user requirements into account knows how quickly things can go off the rails. As expectations go unmet, stakeholders grumble about how technology impedes their productivity. This is way less likely to happen when adopting a design approach, which manages that risk by discovering user needs and brainstorming creative solutions for them.

Design thinking transcends a basic problem-solving orientation by also surfacing hidden user desires and identifying opportunities to create not just a satisfactory technology experience, but a truly transformative one. For users, that results in a product that's inherently desirable, appealing, and pleasurable to use. For companies, it equates to a higher rate of innovation, a greater likelihood of market success, and potentially, a competitive advantage, too. This way, everybody wins.

Envisioning the OMEN X desktop

HP put these design principles into practice when designing the OMEN X desktop gaming system. Aiming to create a functional product and a beautiful piece of technology offering a thrilling experience, HP went straight to the source: hardcore, serious gamers. Who has greater expertise or passion about gaming than power users?

This select group of gaming aficionados puts a high premium on performance. But they also love tinkering with their gaming systems—customizing them and making them their own. This presented a unique opportunity to create a desktop gaming system that actually invited exactly that kind of tweaking and personalization.

The result is a serious, high-performance desktop consisting of a bare-bones chassis with latch doors. This way, users can easily access hard drives and adjust the internal components of their gaming system, experimenting and making enhancements on the fly. The OMEN X also features a striking diamond shape, tilted at a 45-degree angle. It symbolically evokes the OMEN logo, but it aids performance by keeping vents away from the floor, as well. This design satisfies three requirements at once: compelling aesthetics, high performance, and accessibility for customization.

Designing a better UX

It might seem like design thinking's main benefit lies in unlocking creative, out-of-the-box ideas for glossy and futuristic new products, but its business value goes way deeper. At the end of the day, a design approach helps companies create deeply satisfying and rewarding experiences—and in the era of fluctuating customer loyalty, this is a tremendous asset.

Businesses that can design meaningful, emotionally engaging experiences will have an incredible strategic advantage in the marketplace of the future. They may even be more likely to envision products and services that don't exist or haven't been imagined yet, since their thinking isn't stuck in the domain of problem solving. This can help them retain existing customers and achieve great success in entirely new markets.

Businesses looking to transform themselves from producers of products to leading-edge innovators can make great strides by adopting a design approach to their work. It's a flexible process, intended to be adaptable and repeatable for countless initiatives over the long term. It can also deliver powerful benefits to users, as well as to the companies themselves, which stand to reap the rewards of increased customer loyalty and growth in the bottom line.

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