There are many ways to design. Design is not like other disciplines that have immutable processes. Design is a field that encourages and allows practitioners to adapt and change their methods. As such, the design process could be seen as antifragile: it is similar to a forest strengthened by fire or a muscle that is strengthened by stress. In this article, we take a look at the Double Diamond design model. This visual representation of design was created by the United Kingdom Design Council in 2005 and serves as a guideline for designers to use in their creative work.
The Double Diamond design model
The official Double Diamond design model consists of four stages: Discovery, Definition, Development, and Delivery. These stages can be used together as a map for designers to help them organize their ideas and improve their creativity.
This model is not linear. Creative people are encouraged and encouraged to move back and forth between the stages to better understand the problem and to find solutions or improvements to it.
Discovery: Gathering data
The first stage of the Double Diamond Model is to learn more about the variables that impact the problem and the possible solutions. Companies often begin this process by defining their problem and their hypothesis.
This stage of the Double Diamond model aims to find and contextualize the problem or opportunity. It's like an expedition to map the terrain. To ensure maximum creativity in problem solving, it is important to keep employees' minds open for all possibilities.
In this activities like market research and user testing take place. However, there is a catch: all that digging will result in a lot of information. It is essential to know how to organize and manage this information. It is a good idea to gather all data that you have on a project brief and make it available for creative teams.
In this phase, it's important that companies involve their designers in the research process and bring the team face-to–face with the users.
Starbucks is a great example. Their policy states that every designer must spend one month as a barista at any of their locations before they can design anything. This allows people to be immersed in the design context, clarifies the problem and encourages multi-disciplinary collaboration. It's a win-win situation!
Definition Stage: Filtering data
Once you have gathered all the data for the Double Diamond model's first stage, you will reach the definition stage.
Here, the Double Diamond model encourages you to take your time and build on what you have learned in stage 1. The reason is simple: if you share all of your findings, it can lead to focusing only on the wrong data and increasing the chances of design failure. Put differently: too much information is harmful.
Therefore, the definition stage of the Double Diamond model is about filtering through the information from stage one and then elaborating. This could include identifying bottlenecks and resource waste, spotting hidden opportunities, or creating a list that the design team shouldn't do (called no gos).
The definition stage is designed to explain the various components of the project. It aims at making sure that everyone understands both the context and the capabilities of their company. Before designing, designers need to consider the financial situation of the company, its logistics, and market conditions.
This stage sets the context for product design, evaluates the realisticity of what is possible and analyses how the project aligns with corporate branding. The ultimate goal is to get a clear understanding an - if required- to get the approval of the management.
Development stage: it's go time!
This stage of Double Diamond's model represents the beginning of the actual design process. This involves the actual solving of the problem as defined in stages one through two.
Multi-disciplinary work is a key part of the development stage. This involves the design team working with engineers, developers, and other departments who have the necessary expertise to complete the project. This aspect of the development phase is a huge win because it speeds up problem solving by bringing together different departments.
Imagine a team made up of designers who create a new product. The company has all the resources, and everything is put into production. But then there's a problem. It isn't possible to produce the new product in the company's manufacturing plant while still producing older products. Who would have thought? Ah, yes. Anybody from that plant would have known.
Another aspect of the Double Diamond model that is prominent in this stage is the fact that different companies favor development methods. There is brainstorming, visualization and making of various scenarios, MVPs, low-fidelity wireframes, etc.
It is important to remember that all methods have the same goal: to use prototyping effectively and bring the solution to life. A design process with different departments will ensure that you have fewer prototypes and that testing is more efficient.
One interesting point to be noted here is that feedback and continuous testing are common during the development phase of the Double Diamond model. Designers should "eat their own dog food". This means should put themselves in the shoes of users and use the product/service that they designed themselves. Here, it's crucial to have an app prototyping tool that allows you to quickly make design changes and experiment with it.
Delivery stage: Test and release
Final testing, official approval and launching are the last stages of the Double Diamond model. The stage involves taking a final look at the product and making sure that it works. This includes checking it against all regulations and legal standards, as well as stress testing and/or compatibility tests.
But designers don't stop when the product launches. Some would argue that the work has only begun. Once your product is available, you must listen to your users and ensure that your designs reflect their opinions. Forget the race to launch and prepare for the marathon of improvement.
The Double Diamond framework can be used in many industries. The framework helps designers to stay focused on the task at hand and saves you time and money over the long-term. Get in touch with us if you want to learn more about design models.
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