The Double Diamond design model has been around since it was officially invented by the British Design Council, back in 2005. While it has been around for a while, many designers are still unclear what this model is or what it entails. Fear not! Just read on.
The official Double Diamond design model has four stages: Discovery, Definition, Development and Delivery. Together, these stages work as a map designers can use to organize their thoughts in order to improve the creative process.
Discovery: gathering data
The very first stage of the Double Diamond model consists of learning more about the different variables that affect the problem and its possible solution. It’s common for companies to start this process by laying down their problem, presenting their hypothesis, and defining ways they can learn more.
The objective of this stage within the Double Diamond model is to identify and contextualize the actual problem or opportunity. Think of it like an expedition to map out the playing field. The study found that keeping employees’ minds open to all possible solutions was crucial to ensure maximum creative problem-solving.
Normal activities in this stage include market research and user testing. Something interesting the Council learned is that all companies were user-oriented, which translates into focusing on users’ needs, wants and behavior.
Definition Stage: filtering through data and sign-off
The definition stage in the Double Diamond model consists of filtering through all the information you got from stage one, and elaborating on it. This can mean identifying bottlenecks or resource waste, seeing hidden opportunities or setting a list of things the design team definitely shouldn’t do (called no-gos).
The definition stage aims to elaborate on the different components of the project, making sure everyone understands the context of the project (both internal and external) as well as understanding what lies within the capabilities of the company. This means that designers must bear in mind the finances of the company, its resources, logistics and market situation before designing anything.
In short, the definition stage of the Double Diamond model represents a filtering of the ideas and data taken from stage one. It also sets the context for product development, assesses the realism of what can be done and analyzes how this project agrees with the corporate brand.
The end of the definition stage comes with the corporate sign-off. This is a make or break moment, when top management either scraps the project or approves of it and gives it the budget and resources needed for it to carry on.
Development stage: start to design
The development stage involves a lot of multi-disciplinary work – putting the designers together with internal partners, such as engineers, developers or other departments that have the expertise needed in the project. A big win from this aspect of the development stage is that by putting different departments together, you speed up problem-solving.
Another aspect that takes the spotlight in this stage of the Double Diamond model is that all companies engage in development methods- as you might have guessed. Each of the companies in the study had its own preferred methods. Brainstorming, visualization, making of different scenarios, MVPs, low-fidelity wireframes and so on.
The important thing is that all methods aim for the same outcome: to put the prototyping tool to good use and bring the solution to fruition. By having different departments participate in the design process, you ensure that less prototypes are needed and that less problems are discovered with testing.
Delivery stage: test and release
The last stage of the Double Diamond model includes the final testing of the product, official sign-off to production and launching.
The final testing is that one last look at the product to make sure there are no issues with it. This usually includes testing it against any regulation and legal standards, damage testing and/or compatibility testing.
Companies also use this stage to assess the impact of the design on customer satisfaction, in order to quantify the value of good design for the brand.
Separately, all the companies in the study took their responsibility to create feedback loops very seriously. This was seen as a window for constant improvement on the product – each company went about it differently but the lesson here is clear.
Your work as a designer isn’t done when the product is launched. In fact, some would say your work has only just started, because once your product is out there you need to listen to users and make sure their thoughts and opinions are reflected in each new version of your design. So forget the race to launch, and brace for the marathon of improvement.
The Double Diamond model is a framework that can be used in a variety of industries and just about anywhere. It’s more than a simple tool for designers, because it can be applied to any problem that calls for a solution. Every designer has their own way of doing things – but having a road map to follow allows you to focus all your might on the situation at hand, and that will always save you time in the long run.