Why Design Thinking is Important for Developers


When it comes to websites, one of the most crucial factors is Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Most search engines have a laundry list of requirements to help a website stand out. All these requirements revolve around good design thinking to create human-centered websites.

We see the term design thinking thrown around, but what is it? Why is it essential for developers, and how does it affect how we build websites? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is Design Thinking?

In a nutshell, it’s the process of solving problems and coming up with solutions through creativity. At its best, it incorporates research, data, and human psychology to get to the heart of what people need. 

The term “design-thinking” evolved in the early ’90s in the wake of “consumerism,” coming after decades in other industries like management and architecture. This mindset, combined with the rapid modernization of consumer technology, led to the emergence of new and inventive ways to connect customers with businesses.


At its most complex, it involves understanding how people think and behave. It considers how emotions, culture, and biases change the way people interact with products. When we combine these elements, we develop creative, transformative solutions to problems. 


In layman’s terms, designers focus on building relationships, solving problems, and finding new ways. Designers come equipped with specific tools, processes, and techniques that help solve complex problems. And when it comes to creating something new, these processes are even more critical.

How Design Thinking Relates to Web Development

When we think about web development, we think about the website’s underlying structure. This includes the frontend and backend of the website, but not what it looks like. When developers work with other team members like Java architects, design thinking becomes even more critical.

When we think about design, we think about how beautiful colors, fonts, and images look together. But are these things important? When we consider the importance of design thinking, we quickly learn that it’s not just about how things work. It’s about why they work and how people interact with them. 


When we start looking at website usability and user experience, it transforms how we approach web development and design. Instead of focusing solely on aesthetics, we consider how humans want to interact. 

Web developers must embrace this ideology because UX and user experience are a critical part of every piece of online real estate. Creating a good website requires solid planning, research, and empathy toward your user base. A good developer has a natural affinity for innovation and imagination. So, what’s holding us back?

Using Feedback, Testing, and Iteration In Web Development

The line between design and development is blurrier than ever. As more companies move away from traditional models, we’ve seen several patterns emerge. 


Developers used to be siloed, only able to work with designers and product owners. This created a clear divide between how teams worked. But as more small agencies enter the market, we’ve seen more teams consisting of one person doing everything.  


The more we work on projects, the more we learn about our target audience. We start to see patterns that repeat themselves over and over again. Once we understand these expected behaviors, we can start to plan better.  


As more tasks get consolidated, the quality of our work improves. But, we still need to work on finding and incorporating feedback between stakeholders. One of the most effective ways to do this is user testing.  

How Design Thinking Can Save Dying Websites

There are two main reasons we see so many failed and dying sites. It all starts with businesses not having a solid plan in front of them. They begin with a cookie-cutter idea and start rushing through the process. They end up working on the wrong things and trying to move too fast.  


The other reason that we see wasted resources is a lack of collaboration. Sites that fail to have a plan for getting critical feedback from their customer base try to wing it. They never take into consideration their audience. So when users get frustrated, they leave. 

Being data-driven is a universal principle in design thinking. We use analytics to track traffic, conversions, and engagement. Then we feed this information into our design process. We continually collect user data, analyze it, adjust it, and test it against older versions.  


This feedback loop allows us to improve and design an iterative process. This constant iteration will enable us to run experiments and validate our assumptions. As a result, designs become more effective.  

Making Mistakes And Continuous Improvement

User data is an essential tool but should never be used as an excuse to skip the research and discovery phase. There are many different ways to learn more about your market and audience. 

One of the better ways is to use A/B testing and multivariate tests. With the right tools, you can test many variables like color, location, and content against each other.   


Research is critical, which means we need to spend time on it later. When you get into that initial project kick-off phase, you should share goals and findings with your team. You also need to work closely with domain experts to learn what we can.  


A common risk with busy clients is that they skip this step entirely. They feel that it slows the process down. But when we don’t take the time to learn about the marketplace, we then have to make costly mistakes later on. 

Key Takeaways For Web Developers

No longer can web designers and web developers rely on templates and mockups. Instead, we need to develop a process that helps us think critically about our users. As more of our roles overlap, we have the chance to take a more holistic approach to build great software and applications.  


We can create more innovative tech when we’re allowed to use our imagination and be creative. When we collaborate, we can develop even better websites and software.

While web technologies are always changing, the fundamentals of web development remain the same. Good design and good development produce great websites and drive revenue. At its heart, it’s about making sure there’s business value in the stuff we build.  

The Bottom Line

Design thinking does not always mean flashy and trendy, but rather being empathetic to the problems that people want to solve. In web development, you want to create a website that solves a problem and resonates with the audience.


The process of developing something starts with a good idea. Your job as the developer is to take that idea together with what you’ve learned and put together a plan of action. 


It comes down to communicating well, collaborating with others, and constantly improving. As the industry continues to evolve, we will all have more opportunities to design and implement beautiful and engaging experiences online.

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