The Double Diamond Model of Product Definition and Design

After I left Adaptive Path and started working in-house, I was disheartened to realize how retrograde most people’s view of design still was, with a focus on styling and execution. I needed a way to communicate the full breadth of activities my team and I did.

So, over the past couple of years, I’ve been using a double diamond model for talking about digital product design. It didn’t originate with me — from what I can tell, The UK Design Council created it in 2005. I’ve modified it to more closely track what happens with digital product design. I’ve shown it at a few events, and people seem to appreciate it. So, I’m sharing it here. Click the “full screen” icon to get all the nitty gritty details.

Some explanations

Why diamonds? Because I think the divergence/convergence concept is powerful and not practiced enough. Teams too often go with the first idea and attempt to execute that.

Why the red words about design at the bottom? Those emphasize the role that design plays in each stage. The double diamond is not just about design — it’s about product/service development. Design is a contributor, and I find it helpful to clarify the role. So, in the first diamond, the role of design is to make strategy concrete. In the second, it’s to deliver delightful and engaging experiences.

Hey! I don’t do those things in that order! That’s okay. It’s meant to be suggestive of a process, not enforced linearity.

And, the deliverables slide is just to connect the double diamond to more typical UX design practice. Again, this is meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive.

(Thanks to Thomas K├╝ber and Matthew Milan for enhancing my thinking on this.)

In forthcoming blog posts, I’ll talk more about how I’ve used the double diamond, not just to explain process, but to better coordinate with other roles (such as product management) and to diagnose problems in product development.

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