Design Thinking

For creating better UX

Based on an elaboration of a ‘case study’, I want to show what my thinking process looks like, which steps I would go through and why design thinking helps to come up with a good UX.

There are many more methods that can be applied in the Design Thinking process than the methods I used in this ‘case study’.The methods applied during the process depend on many factors, but always aim to create a good UX.

The elaboration of the case

The the challenge

People from the target group indicate that they want to exercise more to improve their general condition. They also clearly indicate that for a variety of reasons, they cannot always bring themselves to exercise.

The solution

Create an app that makes it possible for a wide age group to start exercising in an accessible way. An app that is easy and simple to use, that stimulates people to keep exercising. 

My role

In this case study I took on the different roles within the Design Thinking process

The steps throughout the process


An interview consisted of 12 open questions. Ten people from the age category of 24 to 68 years participated. The group of interviewees consisted of 5 men and 5 women. Duration per interview: 10 to 15 minutes.

Keeping a diary (Cultural Probe)

In addition to the interviews, I also asked the participants to keep a diary for a period of one week. I asked them to write down their feelings each day. It involved both positive and negative feelings, including why they felt that way.

Affinity Diagram

After the research stage, I brought all the data together with digital post its. These are pasted on a board and divided into categories, in order to get a good overview of the collected data.

Empathy mapping

In this step I elaborated the results of the conversations and diaries in a map form in which the following topics are approached. What the user says, does, thinks and feels. This helps to get a better sense of and understanding of the people you are developing the app for.

Point of view

Then the definition of the problem was devised. It is nice to have this at hand as a reminder (work definition). It helps to keep the focus.

'How might we'-questioning

I have used this way of asking questions to get to the initial idea of solutions for the challenge. I have also written down ideas that are “out of the box”.


Clear presentation of the collected ideas and notation of newly emerged ideas as a result of the inventory.

Challenge assumptions

Thinking that you already have a solution to the problem is an assumption that is easily made. But staying sharp and challenging yourself by asking critical questions yields other solutions, possibly better solutions.

Six thinking hats

Before you actually start sketching your first designs, you need to look carefully from different points of view at the problem that has to be solved. For this I applied the Six Thinking Hats method. It provides a critical look at all data and ideas and possibilities, you will sort out ideas even more. An educational moment!


The time has finally come, now the first ideas of design can be put on paper. Making sketches is a great way to do this quickly and if it doesn't work, a new sketch is created in no time!


To create a more human feel and image of the data collected so far, characters are created based on this data. These are supported by a so-called madlib: a short story in which the characteristics of the characters are written and what their motivation is.


To empower the characters and to empathize with their ways of thinking, I have put them in a storyboard. This is a story in the format of a comic that shows their future experiences with the app.

Paper prototyping + Testing

In order to be able to shape initial ideas into something that goes towards the final app, I made paper prototypes. These are relatively quick to make, easy to adjust and also easy to use for testing (in this case, the same group of people with whom the interviews were conducted).


After testing the paper prototypes, it may be that not everything meets initial expectations. A step back has to be made and some other possibilities have to be implemented in a 'new' modified paper prototype and this has to be tested again.

It may also be the case that the expectations are achieved with a first paper prototype. Then the next step can be taken: an interactive prototype can be made and tested. If the tests with the interactive prototype have a positive outcome, the following step can be taken in the entire process. The design can be transferred to the developers who will turn it into a fully working app. This will of course also take time and the digital app will end up in a test phase to test its operation in order to ultimately be able to market the app in a good way.

Note: A Design Thinking process is never really over and the steps in the entire process are generally gone through several times to achieve a good result.

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