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      Design Thinking: Key To Deliver User-Centric Experiences

      Mar 09, 2023

      4 minute read

      Upon browsing a few online communities, we realized how brands don’t invest appropriately in design. They fail to realize how poor design can increase member churn and make fostering social interaction between users a difficult task.

      That’s why online community designers must incorporate the technical components of the community (the engineered components of the system) in order to optimize the social aspects of the community (members and their intersections).

      This will help you resolve user problems and provide a clear vision and value for investment to your community members. As a result, your brand’s reputation will grow, which will positively impact your community goals.

      In this blog post, we will discuss how design thinking can create excellent customer experiences and increase your community’s retention rate.

      Let’s dive in!

      What Is Design Thinking?

      Design thinking is a process that enables you to anticipate the user’s needs, redefine problems, and come up with innovative solutions that can be prototyped and tested.

      Design thinking is not only used by designers. In fact, it is widely used by community professionals across many industries to resolve complex user problems empathically.

      The main objective here is to provide solutions based on user behaviors.

      4 Levels of Design Thinking in Online Communities

      Level 1: All content on the site is readable in the community with a clear contrast between font and background.

      Level 2: The community design matches the brand design with contrasting color schemes, use of images, and adherence to basic principles of good design.

      Level 3: Easy to read, branded, and aesthetically pleasing designs. Static copy is kept to a minimum and captured within appropriate boxes standing out against the background.

      Level 4: Scannable, branded, and limited static copy. Significant use of images/icons and contrast. Avoids stock photos. Long scroll exhibiting numerous community engagement activities on the homepage.

      Benefits of Design Thinking for Community Professionals

      Design thinking empowers you to create designs that are not only captivating but also meet the needs of your end-users and your community. You can use it to explore and experiment with complex problems and discover the best solutions.

      Inefficient community designs make it impossible for users to search for something. That’s where design thinking comes into the picture. The importance of creating a navigation menu and considering the knowledge base hierarchy cannot be overstated. Providing robust search options is a good option if users cannot recognize elements of interest right away.

      Perhaps the best example is the Tableau Community in which you can view the key highlights at the top. They want you to explore, but then you can see everything that’s new – the most recent discussions and the most popular content in that Community.

      Moreover, having a text-only static front end is probably not the best way to make your community a joyful experience. You can instead use bright colors and non-static fonts, as well as plenty of images of interesting insights. If you look at the Reddit online community, you would see how easy it is to find what’s most popular or what they want you to see at the moment. There’s almost no static content on the main page. It’s simply a community filled with dynamic or the latest updates from the community members.

      This can make all the difference between an appealing community aesthetic and one that drives people away.

      It is your goal to make the user’s journey from point A to point B as seamless and fast as possible. This will not only enhance customer engagement but also increase retention by providing a user-centric approach.

      How To Implement Design Thinking?


      1) Community-level Navigation Bar: Using this feature, people can easily navigate through the community and find what they are looking for. The left-side navigation bar makes it easy to find everything within 3 clicks.

      2) Banner With a Clear Value Proposition: This statement should convey community values.

      3) Search bar: It occupies a prominent position where people can look up and find anything they need. It should be able to recover information from both community content and other support articles. Try not to hide the search box. You usually want a large center-aligned search box at the top of the page.

      4) Registration/login section: This should be displayed for visitors who aren’t logged in yet. Once logged in, this shouldn’t appear.

      5) Liveliness statistics: This includes total membership count, questions, answers, etc. These statistics enable casual visitor to give an idea about the potential value of your community.

      6) Upcoming activity: This is the ‘surprise value’ for casual visitors. It’s often promoted in the newsletter or the calendar displayed on the homepage. Let people minimize or hide announcements.

      7) Popular topics: A list of popular topics within the community which people can easily discover and browse through. You can pin the most popular/useful discussions to the top.

      Keeping the design minimal is okay when launching a community for the first time.

      But as your community scales, you will need the assistance of an experienced UI designer and visual designer to incorporate a dynamic look-and-feel design.

      You can create something that closely matches your brand and the experience you want for your community members by combining member interactions with the mission of your community.

      You can do all of this through design thinking. Comprehensive design thinking will empower you to innovate, focus on the user, and ultimately create functionalities that solve real user problems.

      Wish to Create an Online Community With Robust Designs? Let’s Talk!

      Team Grazitti has extensive experience in building multidimensional online communities that empower you to take your business to the next level. To know more about our CMaaS expertise, drop us a line at [email protected], and we’ll take it from there.

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