Design thinking is an innovative method of coming up with solutions to problems. Design thinking places the users at the heart to the problem-solving exercise with their experiences and opinions used to develop solutions to the problems they are facing. Once a solution to a problem has been found, it is tested on the users with their feedback used to improve the solution further. The design thinking approach can be used in different fields to great effect and its high time bloggers started using it so as to ensure that they publish content that resonates with the readers. This article shares a few tips on how to use the design thinking approach to improve a blog and gain favor with blog and web users.
Empathize with the users
The blogging sphere is not known to be user-creative. All that bloggers and website owners are known to do is to find a topic in their niche, create the content and hope that the readers will like the pieces. Most of the time, such content hardly gets appreciated by the users since it is not addressed to their needs. The design thinking approach demands that website owners and bloggers take a step back and try to understand the needs of their users before coming up with content for their blogs.
Empathy is one of the cornerstones of the design thinking approach and bloggers need to have lots of it if they are to make a name for themselves in the blogging sphere. Empathy is all about putting oneself in the shoes of your users/consumers/customers. In this case, bloggers and website owners should put themselves in the shoes of their readers. They should try and understand the problems the readers are facing to be able to develop better blog content. There is something that the readers are looking for when they open your blog and this is something that you need to figure out. Are they looking to gain skills or knowledge on a particular craft or are they looking to be entertained? Are the users delighted to read my blog? Are the blog posts fun to read? Are the posts shareable? Are you build a strong bond with your audience? With the answers to these questions, you will be able to design your blog to satisfy your user’s needs and this will improve your readership and influence in that particular niche.
Define the user’s needs
Empathizing with your users will give you a feel of what they expect from your blog. You will also be able to construct a point of view from these insights and this will give you a clear definition of what your user’s needs are. The comments on the published posts will also help you understand what the readers expect from your blog. Positive comments show that you are doing well while negative ones are an indication that your blog is not meeting the needs of the users.
Another avenue that can be used to get useful feedback from users is carrying out regular surveys. Feedback from the surveys will provide website owners with useful intel regarding the type of content that the blog followers prefer. It should be noted that user’s needs and preferences change with time and as such, collecting and analyzing user insights should be a continuous process so as to ensure that bloggers and website owners are meeting the current needs of their readers.
Iterate, iterate, iterate
Once you understand the needs of your readers, it’s time to come with a possible solution to the problems. This will not be a straight forward exercise since most of the time, the first solution that people come up with is not always the best. The best solution to your users’ needs will be a result of constant testing and iteration. The design thinking approach relies heavily on iteration to find viable solutions to existing problems and consumer needs.
Once you have an idea on how to meet the needs of the users, share this solution with the people you trust within your blogging circle. This could be a trusted blogger, experts in your writing niche or even some of your long-time subscribers. Share your idea and let them tell you what they think. From the feedback, make adjustments to your solution and get their opinion as well. Make as many iterations as possible until everyone is on board with the solution that you are providing. It may sound tiring but bloggers need to understand that they are not creating blog content for themselves hence the need to get other people’s opinion on the blogging solution that they are creating.
Match design aesthetics with function
To improve the readership of your blog you don’t just need great content, your blog should look and feel good as well. People like shiny things and as such, they are likely to choose a blog with a great design. But if they find that the content published there is sub-standard, they will shut down your blog page and move onto something else.
It is for this reason why bloggers need to match design aesthetics with function. Their blogs should have a great design but so to should the content. Great blog design is not just in the appearance of the blog, it is in the functionality as well. Functionality here accounts for features such as load speed, responsiveness, and the design of the CTAs. If you have a call to action on the blog posts, then the CTA button should be the most clickable thing on the planet. The blog layout should be just as impressive on a mobile device screen as on a computer screen. All these issues affect the usability of a blog and if they are not taken into consideration, users will be frustrated and the viewership will decline as a result.
With the design thinking approach, the design of a product is not just in the way it looks and feels like. It also takes into account the functionality of the product and that is why bloggers need to take into account the responsiveness and usability of their blogs as highlighted above.
Focus on the details
Other than the appearance and function of the blog, bloggers need to pay close attention to the small details about their blogs. Some things like the color of the text, the hierarchy of the different elements of the blog and the typography matter if you want the users to have a good time on your blog. The expectations of online users are higher than before and this means that such fine details matter to them. Your blog competitors are working to creating amazing content just as you are and this means such fine details are what will set you apart from the rest.
With the color of the text, make sure that to use the same color scheme within the blog. This uniformity makes a blog recognizable and this way, the readers know what to expect when they open a blog post.
Hierarchy is all about having one or a few elements to stand out on your blog. This ensures that readers are drawn to the element that stands out without being confused by different shiny things within the blog.
Designer thinkers are able to critically analyze their own work. This self-critique ability is a way to keep themselves in check so as not to go off track with their work. Bloggers should also cultivate this ability so as to ensure that they are constantly solving the user problems they identified in the first place.
After creating a feature for their blog, bloggers should ask themselves if the feature solves the existing user problem. Based on the insights they developed from empathizing with the readers, the bloggers should be able to come to a definitive conclusion on this issue. Should they find that they feature that they are about to publish does not meet the needs of the users, then they should get back to the drawing board and make adjustments to the feature piece. If it is a design element for their blogs, they should also be able to critically analyze the design to see if it meets the aesthetic and functional feel that the users demand.
By taking this proactive step, bloggers and website owners are able to avoid embarrassing situations later on. There will be fewer conflicts with the users and this will help the blog cultivate a sizeable following in the long run. The ability to critique one’s own work is particularly helpful when a blogger is working alone and lacks the team that can give project feedback when the need arises.
Design thinking is a highly effective method for solving problems. It places the users right at the center of the problem solving exercise and this ensures that the solutions developed to meet the user demands. Bloggers need to adopt this approach so as to ensure that users gain immense value from their blogs and above are tips on how to go about that.