How it works

The Design Methods Finder (DMF) is a searchable data base with quick access to a lot of interesting and potentially helpful UX design and PM methods. You want to know how to use it? Just read on. 


Quick explanation in short

You describe your problem or challenge with tags. Fill the search field with these. 

  • Either use the provided "main tags" in the drawer below the search field (marked red, yellow, blue or green). 
  • Or use one of the roughly 250 predefined tags (gray). 
  • Or use the full-text search (terms are marked with white tags). 
  • You can combine main and general tags and the full-text search terms. 
  • All tags are also visible via auto suggest when you start typing. 
  • You can also just browse the complete list of design methods by hitting the search button without filtering in advance. 
  • Already used tags are more bright. No longer combinable tags are grayed out.
  • The small number in the top right of the search button and on the tags indicates how many methods fit the search string.
  • That's it! Enjoy! :-)
Search and find!: Find a method that fits your problem by using the appropriate search terms (screenshot example from desktop). Mobile works similar but looks different.


A more detailed explanation 

Find a method 

The DMF helps to find suitable methods for solving a communication or design problem. The Design Method Finder is a service. The user can consult the application at any stage of their project with a specific problem. It does not provide suggestions for processes or optimal project progress. There is also no guarantee that the recommended methods will lead to project success. It is up to you to assess if the method will help you in your project.


Over 300 methods 

In various sources you can find information about design methods. These are sometimes difficult to access, very extensive and confusing. The aim of this project was and still is to create a clear, user-friendly, workable and efficient collection of the most important methods in the working environment of a designer (also product manager, product owner, developer or business manager) and to find solutions to problems. During the study project in 2010 we initially evaluated over 300 methods and selected a wide range of representative methods for each subject area. 


For designers and product people 

The Design Methods Finder should provide good access for beginners, students, graduates as well as design professionals. The information is structured in such a way that you can gradually work deeper into the individual methods. Many presented methods are also relevant for professionals working in product strategy, product management, and business development. 


What are design methods?

Design is the term for the process of conscious design. Design does not just mean visual design and the presentation and styling of information but also creativity, innovation, improvement, development, and management.  

A method is a more or less structured procedure of achieving a goal. 

Together, it means: Design methods describe systematic approaches to finding different solutions to problems.


Known examples are Click Dummies, (Collaborative) Sketching, Usability Testing, Prototyping, Surveys, Interviews, Personas, Observation, or Brainstorming. But there are a lot of other methods that are not so well known.


Design methods ...  
  • increase the probability of a successful result. 
  • serve to gain insight and minimize risk in the design process.
  • help to discipline the procedure.
  • act as confidence-building measures towards outsiders.
  • are no guarantee for success. 
  • are not a substitute for creative work or thinking, they require it!
  • should never be blindfolded!

„A design method is any action one may take while designing.“ 

– John. C. Jones (1980)

Note: We also list approaches or frameworks that are not understood as "true design methods" in the narrow sense but can still help solve a challenge. Don't be dogmatic. It's not relevant how you call an approach, it's relevant that it helps you! 


How do I use the search? 

The method finder is based on a full-text search that searches all terms and individual properties of a method.  


The search field  

In the search field you can describe a problem or goal with terms. Underneath, search suggestions with the most frequently used terms can be expanded in the "drawer". By clicking, these tags are placed in the search field. Optionally, you can also use your own search terms. Not listed tags (full-text search tags) are marked white with black text. When used, the prediction of the number of potential search results is disabled.  


What are the search suggestions?

In the search suggestions in the drawer under the search field, we provide the most important parameters of a design project or suitable methods. If you do not want to search for a method exclusively via the full-text search (enter any term in the search field), you can use these search suggestions to approximate a suitable method. 


Projekt phases 

A typical project can be divided in four (overlapping) phases. We call them analysis, conception, realization and evaluation. Whereby a sub-project or specific problem does not necessarily have to go through the entire process. In the field of design methodology, many different phases of the project have been defined over time – the present four-part segmentation appeared to us the most common. Others may use between 3 and 7 phases for project phase segmentation.


Focus 

For a project, there are essentially three different main tasks:
Ideas - develop, design, combine, explain, ...
User - interview, test, watch, ...
Data - evaluate, arrange, research, ...


Topics

The main topics in the context of a design or communication project are summarized here: empathy, innovation, communication, market, user group, forecast, process, context. 

Additionally around 300 terms are stored as "general tags" in the application via the search index. This means that all methods are tagged with these 300 terms – as far as appropriate to the method. The general tags appear in gray. 


Activities

These are the most common activities in a design process: developing, designing, combining, explaining, interrogating, testing, observing, evaluating, organizing, and researching. Synonyms and other verbs are provided as "general tags" by the automatic search completion. It is particularly useful to combine these verbs with a topic or main task.