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What are the most common UI/UX methodologies?

What are the most common UI/UX methodologies?

Surely, when researching UI UX design services, you will have come across a series of “methodologies” or “steps” that you can implement to guarantee success in your final product or service.

Next, we will explain a little more about it by investigating some of the most common “methodologies”, so that you understand how they are implemented, why they are used and, above all, if we can properly consider them methodologies. 

Double Diamond 

History of Double Diamond

 Double Diamond was created in 2004 by the Design Council (United Kingdom). 

It is an innovative design process, whose great appeal, to a large extent, lies in the fact that it can be used both by expert designers and by people who are not dedicated to design. 

This model aims to help people solve complex problems by responding to a variety of specific needs. 

The model emerged after a series of specialized studies carried out by the Design Council. In these, they analyzed how huge companies solved complex problems (they studied, for example, how LEGO, Sony, etc. worked). 

When analyzing how some of the largest and most successful companies in the world worked, they discovered that, practically, all of them followed certain steps or phases. Each one called these stages differently, but all companies used them. Thus, the Design Council decided to articulate a model that synthesized what it observed in its studies. The result was the Double Diamond. 

What is Double Diamond?

 It is called Double Diamond because the diagram in which this model is represented corresponds precisely to the image of a pair of diamond figures. These two figures are located in the center of a circle and are closely linked.

What are the phases of the double diamond?

 This model is based on four steps or phases: in the first two the problem is “inaugurated” or defined through multiple hypotheses and associative ideas; In the last two, what emerged in the “first diamond” is articulated, the specific points with which we will work are clearly defined and, above all, a final solution is created. 

These four phases have specific names:

  • Empathize or discovery
  • Definition
  • Development
  • Delivery

Likewise, these four phases are closely related to two forms of thinking: divergent thinking and convergent thinking. 

Divergent thinking

 Divergent thinking corresponds to the first part of the diamonds. In this phase you work with unconventional associations. We could say that it is the most “playful” and freely creative part of the process.

Convergent thinking

 Convergent thinking corresponds to the second part of the diamonds. 

In this phase we work with strict problem-solving logic. Creativity remains fundamental in this phase, but it is based on a different order, much more focused on concreteness when solving problems. 

Neither of these two ways of thinking is more important than the other. 

The two need to come together to obtain good results in the Double Diamond model.

Design Thinking 

What is Design Thinking?

 Design Thinking focuses its efforts on solving multiple problems through design. 

The essential thing about this “methodology” is that it is particularly interested in the user. 

Initially, Design Thinking focused on the work of creating products; However, as time has passed and to the extent that companies have observed their efficiency, this “methodology” has been implemented in multiple areas, no longer just focused on products or designers. 

How many phases does Design Thinking have?

 Design Thinking is also divided into stages:


 From this first stage, the user is placed at the center of everything. 

In this first moment it is important to “put yourself in the other person’s shoes.” In this phase, it is necessary to listen openly to the user. 

Here are some of the most essential questions: 

What does the user need? 

How can we help? 

How can we improve and make your life easier? 

The most important thing about this first moment is related to emotional intelligence: we need to be aware that we work with other people, not with machines. We need to be able to listen to others with empathy and respect. 

We also recommend reading our article  “The power of empathy in UX”.


 In this phase we need to concentrate on the essential aspects that emerged from the first phase. It is a “cleaning” process that aims to define what problem we will solve. Here it is important to delimit our efforts to focus on something specific.


 It is one of the phases of greatest creative freedom. 

We could say that it is the most “playful” part of our process. Here, all ideas (no matter how strange they may seem at first) are welcome. 

Imagination has a privileged place at this stage. At this time we outline multiple solutions, concepts, proposals. What emerges at this moment will be fundamental in the following steps.


​ Right now we focus on one of the best ideas that came up in the previous step. 

The important thing, as the name of the phase indicates, is to prototype an idea. We create a first mockup, model, representation or simulation of the final product. 

Subsequently, we will evaluate how it works, if it meets what is necessary, and if it is viable or not. It is the moment of absolute praxis.


​ It is the moment in which the user (the client) tests the prototype. Here, as in the first step, it is important to be extremely open to others. We need to listen to what the user thinks, see what we can improve. Again we work with empathy.

As you could see, Design Thinking can be used in multiple areas beyond design. By doing so we enrich the processes in many companies and work creatively with the resolution of different problems. 

Design Sprint 

What is the Design Sprint methodology?

 Design Sprint is a method created by  Google Ventures . It became popular in 2014. 

This method is based on Design Thinking, but it modifies a fundamental aspect:  the specific time in which the different phases or stages must be carried out.

 Design Sprint maintains that the process should be done within a week. 

Design Sprint appropriately believes that society is changing rapidly. In these changes, he also observes that companies work at accelerated rates.  

Therefore, in coherence with this type of society and companies, Design Sprint adapts its processes to work in an agile, efficient, creative and concrete way. The week, in Design Sprint, is divided like this:

Monday: Mapping.

 On this day of the week the team clearly understands the problem they must solve. 

It is important that all members start on equal terms (that everyone knows the key concepts, the main challenges, that everyone has multiple tools to solve problems, etc.). 

In this first step, all team members must participate in the meeting so that the entire team knows how each person can help throughout the week. 

On this day the following is proposed:

  • long term goal
  • Explain why it may fail
  • Mapping of clients and main players
  • Ask the experts
  • How might we (HMW) and voting
  • Choose a goal

Tuesday: Sketch.

 At this point in the process, each team member must outline solutions to the problem that was defined on Monday. 

At this time we are working with brainstorming, for example. 

What is mainly important in this phase is to develop and work through critical and innovative thinking. 

Teamwork is important, as in the entire process, but the personal creativity of each member is also essential. 

On this day the following is proposed:

  • Lightning Demos
  • Sketch (Sketch the solution), and it is done in 4 steps, we take notes, recover ideas, Crazy 8s, sketch the story board.

It is important that this day also begins the recruitment of users for Friday’s tests. 

Wednesday: Decide. 

​On this day we choose, by consensus with the team, what we are going to prototype later. 

It is the phase in which the next efforts are defined and the fundamental principles for how we will do it are outlined. 

On this day the following is proposed:

  • Decide the best solution
  • Criticize the solution
  • Use the storyboard to plan the prototype

Thursday: Prototyping.

​ At this time, only what is going to be tested is built. 

It is important that, on this day of the week, the team unites all its efforts in creating the prototype based solely on the principles that, by consensus, it chose on Wednesday. 

At this moment it is important to focus on the fundamentals and not get lost in other areas. 

It is, possibly, one of the most complicated days of the week. However, if the entire team works specifically on the prototype, good results will be obtained. The key here is concentration on the basics. 

On this day the following is proposed:

  • Decide the best solution
  • Criticize the solution
  • Use the storyboard to plan the prototype

Friday: Validate.

 On this day you have to make the user interact with the prototype that you developed the day before. It’s time for active feedback. 

At this time the team observes if what they worked on all week worked or if they should adjust it. 

On this day the following is proposed:

Let’s test our prototype with users.

Let’s question the user, it’s time to know if our solution is going to work.

As you can see, the Design Sprint is a challenge. You might think it’s too much work for 5 days. 

However, perhaps if you implement it properly in your work, you can realize how enriching – and creative – this UX design method can be. 

Design Sprint 2.0

 In Design Sprint 2.0, as its name clearly indicates, we work with the fundamental principles of Design Sprint, but the days are reduced even further. 

In Design Sprint 2.0 the work is done in 4 days. It is not that steps are cut, but rather that time is made more efficient in each one. Let’s say that at this moment the processes are shortened, but not the quality in them. 

It was Jake Knapp who proposed, in 2014, optimizing each of the traditional phases of the Design Sprint. The result was a faster, “cleaner” process, much more appropriate to the frenetic and incessantly changing society. 

It is important to mention that both Design Sprint and Design Sprint 2.0 focus on the user and work from empathy all the time. None is better than the other. Simply, each one adapts to different needs and times. 

It is important that the company that employs them carefully analyzes what it needs and appropriately chooses which one is best for each problem. 

Human Centered Design 

What is Human Centered Design or User Centered Design?

 It is human-centered design. This means placing people, with all their implications, at the center of the design. 

In this method, the solution to problems must be based on ease, comfort and suitability for the user. Its main task is to take care of the user’s well-being. 

As you can infer, to correctly carry out this type of design it is essential to know people well. 

It also works, like other methods we saw, with empathy. Likewise, similar to the other methods, in Human-centered Design, we also start from the global observation of the problem; Subsequently, we specifically define the problem; Afterwards, repetitive prototyping tests are carried out, in order to find the solution that best suits the user; and, eventually, a solution is created whose design principles always have the human at the center. 

It is a complex process of active empathetic collaboration, but also extremely satisfying. 

One of the most successful companies in this field is IDEO, an international Human-Centered Design firm, whose work consists of creating products and experiences that place people at the center of a complex network.

Perhaps at this moment you consider that Human Centered Design and Design Thinking are very similar or, perhaps, you even consider that they can be synonyms. Each one is different. Design Thinking is a process of creatively solving problems through design while Human Centered Design can be both a method and a philosophy for problem solving. 

Let’s say that, within Human Centered Design, we could well include Design Thinking. In addition, some fundamental elements change in their different stages. They are two different concepts, although they do have common points. 

Lean UX

 Lean UX is a technique born from the Toyota manufacturing model, which works in alignment with agile development methods. Their goal is to reduce waste and provide value. 

Essentially, lean UX combines the solutions-based approach of design thinking along with the elements of Agile. 

Lean UX is focused on the experience under design and is less focused on deliverables than traditional UX. The core goal is to focus on getting feedback as early as possible so it can be used to make quick decisions. 

Requires a higher level of collaboration with the entire team. The nature of agile development is to work in rapid, iterative cycles and Lean UX uses these cycles to ensure that the data generated can be used in each iteration. 

Traditional UX techniques often don’t work when development is done in quick bursts: there isn’t enough time to deliver UX in the same way. 

Agile UX

 Agile UX design groups user experience design within the Agile development framework. 

Agile development executes and embraces the unknown as part of building and releasing a product. In other words, Agile views product development as an iterative process. 

Agile UX uses agile software methodology update with UX design methods. The ultimate goal of Agile UX is to unify developers and designers in the agile product development process. 

Methodologies or frames of reference?

 Finally, we are going to explain something essential: 

Can we consider that all these proposed models are methodologies or reference frameworks? 

We cannot say that they are methodologies, since they are not “recipe instructions” that you must follow in order to obtain immediate success. 

Rather, they are frames of reference that you can use, based on the characteristics that you consider appropriate to the type of problem you want to solve, in order to help you in the process. 

Remember that UI UX design services is not a process or methodology, but rather the overall end result of multiple efforts.

Thus, you can delve deeper into each of the reference frameworks that we present and choose which one, or which ones, interest you the most. They all have multiple benefits and each of them poses different challenges.

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