The Intersection of Design Thinking and the Future of Video Communication


Hatched by Glasp

Aug 14, 2023

4 min read


The Intersection of Design Thinking and the Future of Video Communication

Design thinking is a problem-solving process that puts human needs at the center. It emphasizes empathy, collaboration, co-creation, and gathering feedback from stakeholders and users to unlock creativity and innovation. This approach is particularly useful for tackling ill-defined or unknown problems, also known as wicked problems, as it allows design teams to reframe these challenges in a human-centric way and focus on what is most important for users.

The design thinking process consists of several phases. The first phase is to empathize with users and understand the problem before searching for solutions. This involves conducting research, observing users, and gathering insights into their needs and problems. By truly understanding the users, design teams can gain valuable insights that inform the rest of the process.

Next, in the define phase, the needs, problems, and insights gathered from the empathize phase are synthesized to clearly define the problem at hand. This step is crucial as it sets the foundation for ideation and solution generation.

Ideation, the third phase, involves challenging assumptions and generating ideas for innovative solutions. This is a divergent phase where creativity flourishes, and design teams explore a wide range of possibilities. It is important to encourage open-mindedness and embrace wild ideas during this phase to foster true innovation.

Once ideas are generated, the prototype phase begins. Prototyping allows design teams to visualize and test their ideas in a tangible form. It can range from low-fidelity sketches to interactive prototypes, depending on the complexity of the solution. Prototyping helps iterate and refine ideas based on user feedback, ensuring that the final solution meets the needs of the users.

Finally, the solutions are tested in the fifth phase. This step involves gathering feedback from users and stakeholders to evaluate the effectiveness of the solutions. Testing allows design teams to validate their ideas and make necessary improvements before implementation.

The double diamond design process provides a framework for design thinking. It divides the process into two spaces: the problem space and the solution space. The problem space involves exploring the complexity of the problem and ends with a clear definition. The solution space is where ideas are generated, visualized, and tested through prototypes. This framework ensures that design teams thoroughly understand the problem and explore various solutions before settling on the final one.

Now, let's shift our focus to the future of video communication. In Benedict Evans' article, he discusses what comes after Zoom. He highlights the importance of user experience and psychology in driving innovation. Just like Dropbox, which stood out by focusing on the user experience, video communication platforms need to consider more than just the technology behind the calls.

Evans points out that video will become pervasive in all aspects of communication, just like voice. However, there are few real network effects in a video call itself. The aggregation layer, such as the calendar, becomes crucial in seamlessly connecting different video call services. This highlights the need for interoperability and ease of use across platforms.

Furthermore, Evans mentions the artificial distinction between calls based on a 'room' and calls based on 'people.' This differentiation creates unnecessary complexity for users. Platforms like Google's Meet and Duo offer different approaches, but there is still room for improvement in terms of streamlining the user experience.

To truly innovate in the video communication space, we need to ask deeper questions. Similar to how Snap questioned the purpose of saving messages, video platforms should question the underlying social purpose of different features. For example, why are we muting ourselves during a call? What social purpose does it serve?

In conclusion, design thinking provides a powerful framework for problem-solving, especially in the realm of video communication. By prioritizing the needs of users and incorporating empathy, collaboration, co-creation, and feedback, design teams can unlock creativity and innovation. To shape the future of video communication, we must go beyond the technical aspects and consider the user experience and psychology. Here are three actionable pieces of advice:

  • 1. Conduct thorough user research to truly understand the needs and problems of video communication users. This will inform the design process and ensure that the solutions address real pain points.
  • 2. Encourage divergent thinking during ideation to foster true innovation. Embrace wild ideas and challenge assumptions to push the boundaries of what is possible in video communication.
  • 3. Continuously gather feedback from users and stakeholders throughout the design process. Testing and iterating on prototypes based on this feedback will result in a final solution that meets the needs of the users.

By incorporating these principles and taking a human-centric approach, we can shape the future of video communication to be more seamless, user-friendly, and socially impactful.

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