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10 Successful Design Thinking Case Study

Dive into the realm of Successful Design Thinking Case Studies to explore the power of this innovative problem-solving approach. Begin by understanding What is Design Thinking? and then embark on a journey through real-world success stories. Discover valuable lessons learned from these case studies and gain insights into how Design Thinking can transform your approach.


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Design Thinking has emerged as a powerful problem-solving approach that places empathy, creativity, and innovation at the forefront. However, if you are not aware of the power that this approach holds, a Design Thinking Case Study is often used to help people address the complex challenges of this approach with a human-centred perspective. It allows organisations to unlock new opportunities and drive meaningful change. Read this blog on Design Thinking Case Study to learn how it enhances organisation’s growth and gain valuable insights on creative problem-solving.

Table of Contents   

1) What is Design Thinking?

2) Design Thinking process   

3) Successful Design Thinking Case Studies

      a) Airbnb

      b) Apple

      c) Netflix

      d) UberEats

      e) IBM

       f) OralB’s electric toothbrush

      g) IDEO

      h) Tesla

       i) GE Healthcare

       j) Nike

3) Lessons learned from Design Thinking Case Studies

4) Conclusion    

What is Design Thinking ?

Before jumping on Design Thinking Case Study, let’s first understand what it is. Design Thinking is a methodology for problem-solving that prioritises the understanding and addressing of individuals' unique needs.

This human-centric approach is creative and iterative, aiming to find innovative solutions to complex challenges. At its core, Design Thinking fosters empathy, encourages collaboration, and embraces experimentation.

This process revolves around comprehending the world from the user's perspective, identifying problems through this lens, and then generating and refining solutions that cater to these specific needs. Design Thinking places great importance on creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, seeking to break away from conventional problem-solving methods.

It is not confined to the realm of design but can be applied to various domains, from business and technology to healthcare and education. By putting the user or customer at the centre of the problem-solving journey, Design Thinking helps create products, services, and experiences that are more effective, user-friendly, and aligned with the genuine needs of the people they serve.  

Design Thinking Training

Design Thinking process

Design Thinking is a problem-solving and innovation framework that helps individuals and teams create user-centred solutions. This process consists of five key phases that are as follows:  

Design Thinking Process

To initiate the Design Thinking process, the first step is to practice empathy. In order to create products and services that are appealing, it is essential to comprehend the users and their requirements. What are their anticipations regarding the product you are designing? What issues and difficulties are they encountering within this particular context?

During the empathise phase, you spend time observing and engaging with real users. This might involve conducting interviews and seeing how they interact with an existing product. You should pay attention to facial expressions and body language. During the empathise phase in the Design Thinking Process , it's crucial to set aside assumptions and gain first-hand insights to design with real users in mind. That's the essence of Design Thinking.

During the second stage of the Design Thinking process, the goal is to identify the user’s problem. To accomplish this, collect all your observations from the empathise phase and begin to connect the dots.

Ask yourself: What consistent patterns or themes did you notice? What recurring user needs or challenges were identified? After synthesising your findings, you must create a problem statement, also known as a Point Of View (POV) statement, which outlines the issue or challenge you aim to address. By the end of the define stage, you will be able to craft a clear problem statement that will guide you throughout the design process, forming the basis of your ideas and potential solutions.

After completing the first two stages of the Design Thinking process, which involve defining the target users and identifying the problem statement, it is now time to move on to the third stage - ideation. This stage is all about brainstorming and coming up with various ideas and solutions to solve the problem statement. Through ideation, the team can explore different perspectives and possibilities and select the best ideas to move forward with.

During the ideation phase, it is important to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable sharing their ideas without fear of judgment. This phase is all about generating a large quantity of ideas, regardless of feasibility. This is done by encouraging the team to think outside the box and explore new angles. To maximise creativity, ideation sessions are often held in unconventional locations.

It’s time to transform the ideas from stage three into physical or digital prototypes. A prototype is a miniature model of a product or feature, which can be as simple as a paper model or as complex as an interactive digital representation.

During the Prototyping Stage , the primary objective is to transform your ideas into a tangible product that can be tested by actual users. This is crucial in maintaining a user-centric approach, as it enables you to obtain feedback before proceeding to develop the entire product. By doing so, you can ensure that the final design adequately addresses the user's problem and delivers an enjoyable user experience.

During the Design Thinking process, the fifth step involves testing your prototypes by exposing them to real users and evaluating their performance. Throughout this testing phase, you can observe how your target or prospective users engage with your prototype. Additionally, you can gather valuable feedback from your users about their experiences throughout the process.

Based on the feedback received during user testing, you can go back and make improvements to the design. It is important to remember that the Design Thinking process is iterative and non-linear. After the testing phase, it may be necessary to revisit the empathise stage or conduct additional ideation sessions before creating a successful prototype.

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Successful Design Thinking Case Studies  

Now that you have a foundational understanding of Design Thinking, let's explore how some of the world's most successful companies have leveraged this methodology to drive innovation and success:

Case Study 1: Airbnb  

Airbnb’s one of the popular Design Thinking Case Studies that you can aspire from. Airbnb disrupted the traditional hotel industry by applying Design Thinking principles to create a platform that connects travellers with unique accommodations worldwide. The founders of Airbnb, Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk, started by identifying a problem: the cost and lack of personalisation in traditional lodging.

They conducted in-depth user research by staying in their own listings and collecting feedback from both hosts and guests. This empathetic approach allowed them to design a platform that not only met the needs of travellers but also empowered hosts to provide personalised experiences. 

Airbnb's intuitive website and mobile app interface, along with its robust review and rating system, instil trust and transparency, making users feel comfortable choosing from a vast array of properties. Furthermore, the "Experiences" feature reflects Airbnb's commitment to immersive travel, allowing users to book unique activities hosted by locals. 

Case Study 2.  Apple    

Apple Inc. has consistently been a pioneer in  Design Thinking, which is evident in its products, such as the iPhone. One of the best Design Thinking Examples from Apple is the development of the iPhone's User Interface (UI). The team at Apple identified the need for a more intuitive and user-friendly smartphone experience. They conducted extensive research and usability testing to understand user behaviours, pain points, and desires.   

The result? A revolutionary touch interface that forever changed the smartphone industry. Apple's relentless focus on the user experience, combined with iterative prototyping and user feedback, exemplifies the power of  Design Thinking in creating groundbreaking products.    

Apple invests heavily in user research to  anticipate what customers want before they even realise it themselves. This empathetic approach to design has led to groundbreaking innovations like the iPhone, iPad, and MacBook, which have redefined the entire industry.  

Case Study 3. Netflix  

Netflix : Design Thinking Case Study

Netflix, the global streaming giant, has revolutionised the way people consume entertainment content. A major part of their success can be attributed to their effective use of Design Thinking principles.

What sets Netflix apart is its commitment to understanding its audience on a profound level. Netflix recognised that its success hinged on offering a personalised, enjoyable viewing experience. Through meticulous user research, data analysis, and a culture of innovation, Netflix constantly evolves its platform. Moreover, by gathering insights on viewing habits, content preferences, and even UI, the company tailors its recommendations, search algorithms, and original content to captivate viewers worldwide.

Furthermore, Netflix's iterative approach to Design Thinking allows it to adapt quickly to shifting market dynamics. This agility proved crucial when transitioning from a DVD rental service to a streaming platform. Netflix didn't just lead this revolution; it shaped it by keeping users' desires and behaviours front and centre. Netflix's commitment to Design Thinking has resulted in a highly user-centric platform that keeps subscribers engaged and satisfied, ultimately contributing to its global success.  

Case Study 4. Uber Eats     

Uber Eats, a subsidiary of Uber, has disrupted the food delivery industry by applying Design Thinking principles to enhance user experiences and create a seamless platform for food lovers and restaurants alike.  

One of  UberEats' key innovations lies in its user-centric approach. By conducting in-depth research and understanding the pain points of both consumers and restaurant partners, they crafted a solution that addresses real-world challenges. The user-friendly app offers a wide variety of cuisines, personalised recommendations, and real-time tracking, catering to the diverse preferences of customers.  

Moreover,  UberEats leverages technology and data-driven insights to optimise delivery routes and times, ensuring that hot and fresh food reaches customers promptly. The platform also empowers restaurant owners with tools to efficiently manage orders, track performance, and expand their customer base. 

Case Study  5 . IBM    

IBM is a prime example of a large corporation successfully adopting Design Thinking to drive innovation and transform its business. Historically known for its hardware and software innovations, IBM recognised the need to evolve its approach to remain competitive in the fast-paced technology landscape.   

IBM's Design Thinking journey began with a mission to reinvent its enterprise software solutions. The company transitioned from a product-centric focus to a user-centric one. Instead of solely relying on technical specifications, IBM started by empathising with its customers. They started to understand customer’s pain points, and envisioning solutions that genuinely addressed their needs. 

One of the key elements of IBM's Design Thinking success is its multidisciplinary teams. The company brought together designers, engineers, marketers, and end-users to collaborate throughout the product development cycle. This cross-functional approach encouraged diverse perspectives, fostering creativity and innovation. 

IBM's commitment to Design Thinking is evident in its flagship projects such as Watson, a cognitive computing system, and IBM Design Studios, where Design Thinking principles are deeply embedded into the company's culture. 

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Case Study 6. Oral-B’s electric toothbrush

Oral-B, a prominent brand under the Procter & Gamble umbrella, stands out as a remarkable example of how Design Thinking can be executed in a seemingly everyday product—Electric toothbrushes. By applying the Design Thinking approach, Oral-B has transformed the world of oral hygiene with its electric toothbrushes.  

Oral-B's journey with Design Thinking began by placing the user firmly at the centre of their Product Development process. Through extensive research and user feedback, the company gained invaluable insights into oral care habits, preferences, and pain points. This user-centric approach guided Oral-B in designing electric toothbrushes that not only cleaned teeth more effectively but also made the entire oral care routine more engaging and enjoyable.  

Another of Oral-B's crucial innovations is the integration of innovative technology into their toothbrushes. These devices now come equipped with features like real-time feedback, brushing timers, and even Bluetooth connectivity to sync with mobile apps. By embracing technology and user-centric design, Oral-B effectively transformed the act of brushing teeth into an interactive and informative experience. This has helped users maintain better oral hygiene.  

Oral-B's success story showcases how Design Thinking, combined with a deep understanding of user needs, can lead to significant advancements, ultimately improving both the product and user satisfaction.

Case Study 7. IDEO  

IDEO, a Global Design Consultancy, has been at the forefront of Design Thinking for decades. They have worked on diverse projects, from creating innovative medical devices to redesigning public services.

One of their most notable Design Thinking examples is the development of the "DeepDive" shopping cart for a major retailer. IDEO's team spent weeks observing shoppers, talking to store employees, and prototyping various cart designs. The result was a cart that not only improved the shopping experience but also increased sales. IDEO's human-centred approach, emphasis on empathy, and rapid prototyping techniques demonstrate how Design Thinking can drive innovation and solve real-world problems.   

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Case Study  8 .  Tesla  

Tesla: Design Thinking Case Study

Tesla, led by Elon Musk, has redefined the automotive industry by applying Design Thinking to Electric Vehicles (EVs). Musk and his team identified the need for EVs to be not just eco-friendly but also desirable. They focused on designing EVs that are stylish, high-performing, and technologically advanced. Tesla's iterative approach, rapid prototyping, and constant refinement have resulted in groundbreaking EVs like the Model S, Model 3, and Model X.    

From the minimalist interior of their Model S to the autopilot self-driving system, every aspect is meticulously crafted with the end user in mind. The company actively seeks feedback from its user community, often implementing software updates based on customer suggestions. This iterative approach ensures that Tesla vehicles continually evolve to meet and exceed customer expectations .   

Moreover, Tesla's bold vision extends to sustainable energy solutions, exemplified by products like the Powerwall and solar roof tiles. These innovations  showcase Tesla's holistic approach to Design Thinking, addressing not only the automotive industry's challenges but also contributing to a greener, more sustainable future.   

Case Study 9. GE Healthcare 

GE Healthcare is a prominent player in the Healthcare industry, renowned for its relentless commitment to innovation and design excellence. Leveraging Design Thinking principles, GE Healthcare has consistently pushed the boundaries of medical technology, making a significant impact on patient care worldwide.  

One of the key areas where GE Healthcare has excelled is in the development of cutting-edge medical devices and diagnostic solutions. Their dedication to user-centred design has resulted in devices that are not only highly functional but also incredibly intuitive for healthcare professionals to operate. For example, their advanced Medical Imaging equipment, such as MRI and CT scanners, are designed with a focus on patient comfort, safety, and accurate diagnostics. This device reflects the company's dedication to improving healthcare outcomes.  

Moreover, GE Healthcare's commitment to design extends beyond the physical product. They have also ventured into software solutions that facilitate data analysis and Patient Management. Their user-friendly software interfaces and data visualisation tools have empowered healthcare providers to make more informed decisions, enhancing overall patient care and treatment planning.

Case Study 10. Nike 

Nike is a global powerhouse in the athletic apparel and Footwear industry. Nike's journey began with a simple running shoe, but its design-thinking approach transformed it into an iconic brand.

Nike's Design Thinking journey started with a deep understanding of athletes' needs and desires. They engaged in extensive user research, often collaborating with top athletes to gain insights that inform their product innovations. This customer-centric approach allowed Nike to develop ground breaking technologies, such as Nike Air and Flyknit, setting new standards in comfort, performance, and style.

Beyond product innovation, Nike's brand identity itself is a testament to Design Thinking. The iconic Swoosh logo, created by Graphic Designer Carolyn Davidson, epitomises simplicity and timelessness, reflecting the brand's ethos.  

Nike also excels in creating immersive retail experiences, using Design Thinking to craft spaces that engage and inspire customers. Their flagship stores around the world are showcases of innovative design, enhancing the overall brand perception.

Lessons learned from Design Thinking Case Studies

The Design Thinking process, as exemplified by the success stories of IBM, Netflix, Apple, and Nike, offers valuable takeaways for businesses of all sizes and industries. Here are three key lessons to learn from these Case Studies:  

Key takeaways from Design Thinking Case Studies

1)   Consider the b ig p icture   

Design Thinking encourages organisations to zoom out and view the big picture. It's not just about solving a specific problem but understanding how that problem fits into the broader context of user needs and market dynamics. By taking a holistic approach, you can identify opportunities for innovation that extend beyond immediate challenges. IBM's example, for instance, involved a comprehensive evaluation of their clients' journeys, leading to more impactful solutions.  

2)  Think t hrough a lternative s olutions   

One of the basic principles of Design Thinking is ideation, which emphasises generating a wide range of creative solutions. Netflix's success in content recommendation, for instance, came from exploring multiple strategies to enhance user experience. When brainstorming ideas and solutions, don't limit yourself to the obvious choices. Encourage diverse perspectives and consider unconventional approaches that may lead to breakthrough innovations.  

3)  Research e ach c ompany’s c ompetitors   

Lastly, researching competitors is essential for staying competitive. Analyse what other companies in your industry are doing, both inside and outside the realm of Design Thinking. Learn from their successes and failures. GE Healthcare, for example, leveraged Design Thinking to improve medical equipment usability, giving them a competitive edge. By researching competitors, you can gain insights that inform your own Design Thinking initiatives and help you stand out in the market.  

Incorporating these takeaways into your approach to Design Thinking can enhance your problem-solving capabilities, foster innovation, and ultimately lead to more successful results.  


Design Thinking is not limited to a specific industry or problem domain; it is a versatile approach that promotes innovation and problem-solving in various contexts. In this blog, we've examined successful Design Thinking Case Studies from industry giants like IBM, Netflix, Apple, Airbnb, Uber Eats, and Nike. These companies have demonstrated that Design Thinking is a powerful methodology that can drive innovation, enhance user experiences, and lead to exceptional business success.   

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Frequently Asked Questions

Design Thinking Case Studies align with current market demands and user expectations by showcasing practical applications of user-centric problem-solving. These Studies highlight the success of empathetic approaches in meeting evolving customer needs.

By analysing various real-world examples, businesses can derive vital insights into dynamic market trends, creating innovative solutions, and enhancing user experiences. Design Thinking's emphasis on iterative prototyping and collaboration resonates with the contemporary demand for agility and adaptability.

Real-world examples of successful Design Thinking implementations can be found in various sources. For instance, you can explore several Case Study repositories on Design Thinking platforms like IDEO and Design Thinking Institute. Furthermore, you can also look for business publications, such as the Harvard Business Review as well as Fast Company, which often feature articles on successful Design Thinking applications.

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Our Leadership Training blogs covers a range of topics related to Design Thinking, offering valuable resources, best practices, and industry insights. Whether you are a beginner or looking to advance your Design Thinking skills, The Knowledge Academy's diverse courses and informative blogs have you covered.

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Header Explore Section: Case Studies Page

50+ Design Thinking Case Study Examples

Design Thinking Case Studies demonstrate the value of the Design Thinking methodology. They show how this Design Thinking methodology helps creatively solve problems and improve the success rate of innovation and increase collaboration in corporations, education, social impact work and the public sector by focusing on the needs of humans.

There are many Design Thinking Case Study examples on the web, but few meet the criteria for a robust case study: a clear description of the methodology, steps undertaken, experimentation through rapid prototypes and testing with people and finally documented results from the process. In this section, we have been selective about the design thinking case study examples that we highlight. We look for Design Thinking Case Studies that demonstrate how a problem was tackled and wherever possible the results or effect that the project produced. Our goal in curating this section of Design Thinking Case Study examples is quality over quantity.

Browse this page to view all Design Thinking Case Study examples, or if you are looking for Design Thinking Case Studies in a specific industry or marketing vertical, then rather start with the Design Thinking Case Studies Index .

If you have an interesting application of Design Thinking that you have a case study for, we would be happy to publish it.

Submit your Design Thinking Case Study for publication here.

Design Thinking Case Study Index

Design Thinking Case Study Index

Welcome to the Design Thinking Case Study Index. There are many Design Thinking Case Studies on the internet. Many are retrofitted descriptions of what occurred, rather than evidence of the Design Thinking process in action. In order to bring a higher standard to the practice of Design Thinking, we require stronger evidence and rigor. Only members can post and must provide strong evidence in the Design Thinking Case Study that the Design Thinking process was used to create the original idea for the product or service solution. The criteria that needs to be proved to make your project a Design Thinking Case Study are:

The Guardian: Benefits of Design Thinking

The Guardian: Benefits of Design Thinking

Design thinking helped The Guardian newspaper and publishing group change their funding model, boost revenue and adapt their culture and engage on an emotional level with their readers. In this case study, Alex Breuer, Executive Creative Director and Tara Herman, Executive Editor, Design explain how design thinking was able to achieve these goals for The Guardian.


Tackling the Opioid Crisis at the Human and Systems Levels

Tackling the Opioid Crisis at the Human and Systems Levels

How the Lummi Tribal clinic used design to address opioid overdoses

Applying Design Thinking Internally

Applying Design Thinking Internally

Applying Design Thinking internally, within a group, community or to ourselves. This is a new application of the Design Thinking Methodology.

An internal application in this sense can have two meanings. First, the internal application of design thinking tactics within a group, organization or community, and second, the internal application of design thinking to one’s own self and life.

Can Design Thinking help you solve your own problems?

The Use of Design Thinking in MNCH Programs, Ghana

The Use of Design Thinking in MNCH Programs, Ghana

Responding to growing interest among designers, global health practitioners, and funders in understanding the potential benefits of applying design thinking methods and tools to solving complex social problems, the Innovations for Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) Initiative (Innovations) developed and piloted innovative interventions to address common barriers to improving the effectiveness of basic MNCH health services in low-resource settings.

Société Générale's Time Tracking Nightmare Solved

Société Générale's Time Tracking Nightmare Solved

In 2017, employees, managers, and partners of Société Générale Global Solution Centre agreed that invoices based on time tracking and project allocation were a chronic and painful challenge.

At SG-GSC, customers were billed for the time each assigned employee worked. The process of collecting the time worked by those employees (HCC) was a complicated and difficult ordeal. It consumed 21 days per month for senior employees. These employees had to navigate different systems, many types of contracts, high staff mobility, and a variety of processes between business lines.

How to Stimulate Innovation in Your Organization With Design Thinking

How to Stimulate Innovation in Your Organization With Design Thinking

In this use case the cities of Aalborg and Rotterdam share their findings obtained from design thinking initiatives. This is based on empirical research as part of an evaluation. The use case is written for other professionals in the field of design in public organizations.

One of the main targets of the Interreg NSR project Like! is to create a digital innovative culture in which citizens are engaged, and more inclusive services are build. To reach this the municipalities started several initiatives with design thinking. In these initiatives one of the objectives was to find out how design thinking can help us to develop innovative and inclusive services. To research what design thinking contributed, we evaluated the pilots with participants.

The Impact of Design Thinking on Innovation: A Case Study at Scania IT

The Impact of Design Thinking on Innovation: A Case Study at Scania IT

Organizational culture represents a crucial factor for the introduction of innovation throughout the organization via Design Thinking and agile way of working. Thus, the organization must establish a culture that encompasses a shared vision with values that create a commitment to learn, experiment and accept failure.

Oral B - Putting the User At the Center of Innovation

Oral B - Putting the User At the Center of Innovation

Oral B wanted to integrate digital technology into their electric toothbrush. The Brands first thoughts were to help users to track how well they were brushing their teeth. Future Facility, a product design firm in the UK suggested a different approach. Focus on the pain points of electric toothbrush users.

This case study discusses the importance of placing the user at the center of your innovation activities.

eCarSharing: Design Thinking At Innogy

Design Thinking at Innogy

eCarSharing:   Energy Solutions for the New Generation

In 2015, Itai Ben-Jacob pitched his own ideas for a viable business model and developed the idea for innogy’s eCarSharing project in a design thinking workshop. His goal was to explore one of innogy’s innovation focus areas, ‘urban mobility.’

Together with fellow innovation hub members he organized a series of design thinking workshops to wade through the expansive topic of urban concepts – one of them focusing on mobility: “ We wanted to understand urban mobility – what does it actually entail? What type of business should we start? “

Building Cape Town’s Resilience Qualities Through Design Thinking.

Building Cape Town’s Resilience Qualities Through Design Thinking.

This case study focuses on a Design Thinking Workshop for primary school learners. The aim of the workshops was to provide learners with a new set of skills which they can employ when problem solving for real world challenges.

Building resilience is essential for cities that face increasing uncertainty and new challenges that threaten the well-being of its citizens. This is especially important when looking at the diversity and complexity of potential shocks and stresses. 

Cape Town’s efforts to build skills in design thinking supports the creation of locally-relevant and innovative solutions that contribute to building resilient individuals and communities in Cape Town.

A Design Thinking Case Study byIDEO: Designing Waste Out of the Food System

Designing Waste Out of the Food System

The average American  wastes  enough food each month to feed another person for 19 days. Through a number of projects with The Rockefeller Foundation and other organizations, IDEO designers from across the U.S. devised novel ways to tackle food waste.

B2B Design Thinking: Product Innovation when the User is a Network

B2B Design Thinking: Product Innovation when the User is a Network

When B2B companies talk about user experience, they are really considering the aggregated needs of multiple people and roles in a large ecosystem. But what happens when those objectives are vastly different for every individual?

“Humans don’t stop being humans just because they entered an office building.”

Self-Checkout: Improving Scan Accuracy Through Design

Self-Checkout: Improving Scan Accuracy Through Design

In this unique applied research study, academics and designers partnered with four of ECR’s Retailer members to immerse themselves in the self-checkout experience, understanding from the perspectives of the shopper and self-checkout supervisors, their journey from entry to exit, and their design challenges and frustrations.

Co-designing OTP Bank’s Strategic Plan for Growth, The Design Thinking Society

Co-designing OTP Bank’s Strategic Plan for Growth

This is an example of accelerating a transformation through co-design. Eighty-two professionals gathered, representing OTP’s whole organization. Together, they were able to achieve months of work in just three days.

OTP Bank Romania (OTP) was at a key turning point in late 2018. The organization was undergoing changes in its leadership team. This new team helped them develop an ambitious goal:

OTP Bank will double its market share in 5 years.

They gathered for two Discovery sessions in December 2018. In these sessions, a carefully selected senior team chose three market segments to focus on. Then they built these segments into Personas.

IDEO: Journey to Mastery

IDEO: Journey to Mastery

While this is not a case study as such, it sits in our case study section as it is an important piece of information from a consultancy that played a large part in popularizing Design Thinking. In their Journey to Mastery section, IDEO discuss and shine a light on the shortcomings of the design thinking term and how it has been applied. I.e that it is not designing and that just knowing and using the practice does not in itself produce amazing solutions to problems.

It is worth a read to understand some of the nuance that is important to successful design thinking work.

Singapore Government: Building Service Platforms Around Moments in Life

Singapore Government: Building Service Platforms Around Moments in Life

In 2017, the product development team at Singapore’s Government Technology Agency (GovTech) was tasked to develop a tool to consolidate citizen-facing services previously delivered by different government agencies onto a single platform. The initiative, Moments of Life, sought to make it easier for citizens to discover and access relevant services during important changes in their lives by reducing fragmentation and being more anticipatory in the delivery of those services.

Organizing the delivery of services around a citizen’s journey, rather than fitting their delivery to existing processes, required extensive interagency collaboration beyond functional silos.

Mayo Clinic: Design Thinking in Health Care – Case Study

Mayo Clinic: Design Thinking in Health Care – Case Study

In the early 2000s, Mayo Clinic physician Nicholas LaRusso asked himself a question: if we can test new drugs in clinical trials, can we in a similarly rigorous way test new kinds of doctor-patient interactions?  

Consequently, the Mayo Clinic set up a skunkworks outpatient lab called SPARC. Within 6 years it had grown to an enterprise wide department called the Center for Innovation a dedicated research and design-oriented institute that studies the processes of health care provision, from the initial phone call, to the clinic visit, to the diagnosis and treatment of the problem, to follow-up and preventive care.

Design Thinking and Participation in Switzerland: Lessons Learned from Three Government Case Studies

Design Thinking and Participation in Switzerland: Lessons Learned from Three Government Case Studies

Olivier Glassey, Jean-Henry Morin, Patrick Genoud, Giorgio Pauletto

This paper examines how design thinking and serious game approaches can be used to support participation.

In these case studies the authors discovered the following results.

Perceived usefulness. Based on informal discussions and debriefing sessions following all workshops, it is clear that the vast majority of workshop participants explicitly stated that both the actual outcome of the workshop and the methods used would significantly contribute to enhancing their performance in their work. Some workshops have actually led to follow up workshops or concrete actions based on the outcome.

Asili: Addressing an Entire Ecosystem of Need in a Rural Community

Asili: Addressing an Entire Ecosystem of Need in a Rural Community

Design Thinking in HR at Deutche Telekom, presented by Reza Moussavian

Design Thinking in HR at Deutche Telekom

Reza Moussavian, a senior HR and IT executive at Deutsch Telekom explains the company's journey and how important Design Thinking is as a business strategy for HR. Reza Moussavian's presentation provides great examples of issues tackled in HR and the results achieved. The presenter claims that there is not a singe issue that Deutche Telekom tackles in HR now that does not start with a Design Thinking methodology.

"Design Thinking solves 5% of our problems." says Reza Moussavian, "What we found out was that the magic was really in the implementation phase. We had to learn how to keep the momentum, the spirit and the fire from the co-creation workshops alive through the long implementation phase. Success is really about technology, transformation and leadership skills."

Design Thinking in Education: Perspectives, Opportunities and Challenges

Design Thinking in Education: Perspectives, Opportunities and Challenges

This very informative article discusses design thinking as a process and mindset for collaboratively finding solutions for wicked problems in a variety of educational settings. Through a systematic literature review the article organizes case studies, reports, theoretical reflections, and other scholarly work to enhance our understanding of the purposes, contexts, benefits, limitations, affordances, constraints, effects and outcomes of design thinking in education.

Specifically, the review pursues four questions:

Design Thinking in the Classroom: What can we do about Bullying? By Dr. Maureen Carroll.

Design Thinking in the Classroom: What can we do about Bullying?

As children move from kindergarten, through middle school, and to high school, instruction shifts from stories to facts, from speculation to specifics, and imagination fades from focus. Design Thinking provides an alternative model to traditional ways of learning academic content by challenging students to find answers to complex, nuanced problems with multiple solutions and by fostering students’ ability to act as change agents.

Design Thinking is all about building creative confidence — a sense that “I can change the world.” In the Bullies & Bystanders Design Challenge, the students discovered that changing themselves might be even more important.

A Design Thinking Case Study in Education: Following One School District's Approach to Innovation for the 21st Century

Following One School District's Approach to Innovation for the 21st Century

In her doctoral paper Loraine Rossi de Campos explores the use of Design Thinking in a school district for a 4-5 grade school.

India: Using ‘Design Thinking’ to Enhance Urban Redevelopment.

India: Using ‘Design Thinking’ to Enhance Urban Redevelopment.

The discourse on urban planning and development has evolved over the last century with top-down methods of planning urban spaces giving way to bottom-up approaches that involve residents and other stakeholders in the design process. While the notion of participation and user involvement is considered critical to the design of appropriate and acceptable urban forms, there is no clear consensus in the literature on the methodology to be used to involve users and stakeholders in the design process. In this paper, we propose that the use of ‘Design-Thinking’ – a methodology for Human-Centred Design that is often used in product design and related industries – may be an effective methodology for engaging stakeholders in the urban design domain.

E*Trade: From Idea to Investment in 5 Minutes

E*Trade: From Idea to Investment in 5 Minutes

Why the Financial Services Sector Should Embrace Design Thinking. Financial institutions need to evolve rapidly or risk disruption at the hands of nimble Fintech start-up companies.

In this article Kunal Vaed, The Street, describes how E*Trade used design thinking to enable the company to help investors get smarter by going from the idea of investing to an investment in 5 minutes.

E*Trade's Adaptive Portfolio service offering provides a good example of the work and results that E*Trade achieved with Design Thinking.

Fidelity Labs: Optimizing near-term savings goals

Fidelity Labs: Optimizing near-term savings goals

Thanks to providers like Fidelity, people can rely on easy, convenient systems to stay on track with their retirement savings. But when it comes to saving for important near-term goals (think: vacation, house, or wedding), people tend to be less organized. 

Fidelity Labs tackled this problem and defined the challenge as: "How might we improve the experience of saving for near-term goals? How might we make it easier, faster, and better?"

Design for Action: MassMutual and Intercorp Group by Tim Brown and Roger L. Martin

Design for Action: MassMutual and Intercorp Group

How to use design thinking to make great things actually happen by Tim Brown and Roger L. Martin. In this great HBR article, the authors look at design thinking in Finance with two case studies, one from MassMutual and the other from Intercorp. Group of Peru.

In this article highlighting the development of the acceptance of Design Thinking, they discuss how Design Thinking helps to create the artifact that creates the new solution as well as the intervention/s that brings the artifact to life.

How to Use Design Thinking to Make Great Things Actually Happen by Tim Brown and Roger Martin

How to Use Design Thinking to Make Great Things Actually Happen

Ever since it became clear that smart design led to the success of many products, companies have been employing it in other areas, from customer experiences, to strategy, to business ecosystems. But as design is used in increasingly complex contexts, a new hurdle has emerged: gaining acceptance (for the new solutions).

4 Design Thinking Case Studies in Healthcare: Nursing by Penn Nursing

4 Design Thinking Case Studies in Healthcare: Nursing

The 4 case studies by Penn Nursing illustrate how nurses can be really powerful collaborators and generators of solutions within Healthcare. The videos describe the main attributes that nurses bring to the problem solving table

Philips Improving the Patient Experience

Philips: Improving the Patient Experience

Philips Ambient Experience service offers hospitals a way to radically improve the patient experience and results that they can achieve from their CT scanning suites. The best way to understand what it is is to watch this video  and this video  discussing the latest addition to the service. The white paper from Philips is also a good source of information on the Ambient Experience Service.

IBM: Design Thinking Adaptation and Adoption at Scale by Jan Schmiedgen and Ingo Rauth

IBM: Design Thinking Adaptation and Adoption at Scale

How IBM made sense of ‘generic design thinking’ for tens of thousands of people. 

Generic design thinking often faces heavy resistance from influential skeptics, gets misunderstood or not understood at all, or less dire, it gets picked up with an unreflected euphoria and is applied as a “silver bullet” to all kinds of problems and projects (the famous “methodology misfit” we also see with Scrum for example). The big hangover often comes after the first experimentation budgets are expended and at worst a blame game starts.

Design Thinking in Public Engagement: Two Case Studies

Design Thinking in Public Engagement: Two Case Studies

Dave Robertson presents two case studies with the British Columbia Government (Canada). One with the Ministry of Transportation discussing their (public servant centered website), the other solving the problem of finding a solution to where to place a power substation.

Dave shows how he was stuck working in the public sector as a consultant and how creativity expressed through the Design Thinking methodology helped him to see a different, more effective way of creating solutions.

Bank of America Helps Customers Keep the Change with IDEO

Bank of America Helps Customers Keep the Change

How do you encourage new customers to open bank accounts? In 2004, Bank of America used the Design Thinking methodology to look at the problem from a human centered perspective when they assigned design agency IDEO to boost their enrollment numbers: a problem that at the time, lacked any user perspective on why it was so hard for customers to save.

IDEO: Redesigning The Employment Pass Application in Singapore

Redesigning The Employment Pass Application in Singapore

The Ministry of Manpower’s Work Pass Division (WPD) used design thinking as a tool to develop better ways to support foreigners who choose Singapore as a destination to live, work and set up businesses. The case reveals: Design thinking can potentially transform the perception and meaning of public service.

The team found out that the service redesign process required a better understanding of the decision points of both users and non-users. This involved taking a closer look at the opportunities and difficulties facing users, including those who had succeeded and failed within it, or had encountered problems or avoided it.

The US Tax Forms Simplification Project

The US Tax Forms Simplification Project

This case concerns one of the earliest attempts by design thinkers at designing a large, complex system. It shows that design approaches in the public sector can look back at a long history. And it reveals how design thinking within the organization must include members of the whole organization in the design process.

Design has a long tradition and a rich history in the public sector. Nearly 40 years ago, when the US Congress passed the Paperwork Reduction Act into law, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) turned to designers in an effort to implement the new policy and to improve its relationship with taxpayers. 

A Tough Crowd: Using Design Thinking to Help Traditional German Butchers

A Tough Crowd: Using Design Thinking to Help Traditional German Butchers

Between 2004 and 2014, more than 4000 butcher shops were forced to shut down in Germany. When last was the butcher shop redesigned? The process started in the 1990s, as supermarkets became the favored spot for meat-shopping. As if a dramatic loss of market share was not enough, the industry as a whole started suffering from a serious image crisis. It was time to apply design Thinking to the traditional German Butcher Shop.

The initial problem statement read “Create the meat shop 2.0, an up-to-date version of the classic butcher business”. 

IDEO: Using Design Thinking to Create a Better Car

IDEO: Using Design Thinking to Create a Better Car

The challenge.

Remove roadblocks that can compromise the in-car experience for the Lincoln car company.

The final product, the Lincoln MKC luxury crossover, is credited with helping the Lincoln brand outpace growth in the luxury segment by more than two-to-one over competitors.


A pop-up studio where IDEO designers helped departments communicate and collaborate more effectively.

Transforming Constructivist Learning into Action: Design Thinking in Education, by

Transforming Constructivist Learning into Action: Design Thinking in Education

In an ever changing society of the 21st century, there is a demand to equip students with meta competences going beyond cognitive knowledge. Education, therefore, needs a transition from transferring knowledge to developing individual potentials with the help of constructivist learning. A Scheer, C Noweski,  C Meinel , University of Potsdam, Germany.

Design Thinking is the most effective method of teaching constructivist learning.

Scaling Design Thinking in the Enterprise, a 5 Year Study

Scaling Design Thinking in the Enterprise, a 5 Year Study

During Julie Baher's five years at  Citrix  between 2010 to 2015, she was fortunate to gain first-hand experience leading a transformation in product strategy to a customer-centered approach. It began when several senior executives attended the  design thinking boot camp  at Stanford’s d-school, returning with a new vision for the product development processes. Julie goes into detail about how they scaled up the customer centric methodology across the organizations 8,000 employees.

Developing Environmental Sustainability Strategies

Developing Environmental Sustainability Strategies

Developing environmental sustainability strategies, the Double Diamond method of LCA and design thinking: a case study from aged care. Journal of Cleaner Production, 85, 67-82. Stephen J. Clune*, Simon Lockrey.

Developing an App for Type II Diabetes using Design Thinking to ensure that the App is developed around the needs of the users

Developing an App for Type II Diabetes

Development and testing of a mobile application to support diabetes self-management for people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes: a design thinking case study. Numerous mobile applications have been developed to support diabetes-self-management. However, the majority of these applications lack a theoretical foundation and the involvement of people with diabetes during development. The aim of this study was to develop and test a mobile application (app) supporting diabetes self-management among people with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes using design thinking. The article was written by Mira Petersen and Nana F. Hempler.

Design Thinking to Improve UX in Public Transportation

Improving UX in Public Transportation

In this case study the project leaders goal was to  improve the experience of bus users  on Madrid's EMT system by offering a technological solution to  increase the users’ satisfaction with regard to accessibility  during the bus trip as well as when waiting for the bus to arrive.

Transforming Life Insurance through design thinking - a McKinsey Case Study

Transforming Life Insurance through Design Thinking

To some fintechs, non-insurance incumbents, and venture capitalists, the industry’s challenges suggest opportunity. The life insurance value chain is increasingly losing share to these players, who are chipping away at the profit pool. 

How might incumbent life insurers keep pace in today’s fast-moving competitive environment and meet customers’ changing needs?

Deploying the Design Thinking methodology in the insurance sector could be the key to helping save insurance from itself. Here's what McKinsey has to say about design thinking in insurance in their article "Transforming Life Insurance through Design Thinking".

"Better addressing the evolving needs of consumers can help incumbents win their loyalty—and protect against new competitors. 

Bringing Design Thinking to the Insurance World by Pancentric

Bringing Design Thinking to the Insurance World

Pancentric helped  Jelf kick-off a several-year digital transformation journey by getting to know not just their customers better, but their own staff, too. Jelf has dozens of offices around the UK, all with specialties in insuring different kinds of commercial businesses. For our project team trying to determine a roadmap of new developments, there was no easy overview of how each office operated or what the entire customer experience looked like.

The Features of Design Thinking in Fast Moving Consumer Goods Brand Development

The Features of Design Thinking in Fast Moving Consumer Goods Brand Development

This paper investigates what features of design thinking are employed in FMCG brand development via stakeholder interviews in three domains: agencies, companies, and retailers. This paper concludes with suggestions of how design thinking can be embraced in FMCG brand development.

Swiffer Case Study by Harry West, Continuum

A Chain of Innovation The Creation of Swiffer

This is a great case study that underlines the complexity of bringing game changing products to market. It helps to provide an understanding of just how much more is needed that a simple five step process of idea generation.

Read more from Continuum , the Design Firm responsible for the Swiffer

The Guardian: Using Design to Reaffirm Values, a case study by the Design Council

The Guardian: Using Design to Reaffirm Values

The Guardian's redesign, which launched in January 2018, illustrated the business impact when design is valued. The Guardian has a strong culture of design and increasingly, how design thinking can contribute to organizational change and development.

Saving Product X: A Design Thinking Case Study

Have you ever wondered if you can apply design thinking principles with a limited time and budget? If so, check out this in-depth Design Thinking use case, which details how Design Thinking helped a company to save its product.

Saving Product X: A Design Thinking Case Study

By Luciano Castro

Luciano is a business-driven manager with over 15 years of experience as a CTO and CEO in multinational companies and startups.

What is Design Thinking?

Imagine that you have an idea. You come up with an ingenious application which you think will solve your business problems. There are currently no identical solutions on the market and the one which is most similar is not really working in the way that customers expect it to.

While your vision is still fresh, you start thinking about the first fundamental question that comes to mind: “How long will it take to get it done?”

And since we rarely find ourselves with unlimited budget and time, the second consequent question comes quickly: “How much will it cost me to do it?”

Both of these are fundamental and crucial questions in the making of a product, but often they are precisely the wrong questions to start with.

Instead, the most important question to ask first is: “What value can I create for my users?”

To better understand the scope of a project, requirements, and timing we can use a methodology called “ Design Thinking ,” which helps us during the “Discovery Phase” of a product. This is exactly the time when we need to understand not only what will make a great product, but also how and if we should do it. This creative and experimental approach helps us to better understand how to create things that are not only usable but above all, useful.

The Design Thinking process is particularly useful because it generates a unique and specific outcome: knowledge.

This methodology has a wider scope of use , but for the purpose of this case study on Design Thinking, we will focus only on one specific field - Software Product Development.

The Theory of Design Thinking

Before we delve into the practical applications of this Design Thinking example and my experience applying it, let’s take a deeper look at the Design Thinking process.

Design Thinking is a methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solve problems. It focuses on understanding the user perspective, with a human-centered point of view. The power of this methodology is the possibility to test quickly if an idea, solution or enhancement can bring real results to our customers. Integrating different methodologies, tools, and techniques coming from different fields (marketing, psychology, design, business), the purpose of Design Thinking is to put the user on the very center of the problem we have to solve.

The goal of the methodology is to “find the user itself and define its needs” and by finding those needs, create a solution or a product that can be really useful. To achieve this goal, the whole concept is split into six design thinking phases .

Diagram of Design Thinking phases.

  • Empathize: The goal of this phase is to understand your customer, by searching and gathering information about their business. During this phase, we can use several different tools, such as interviews, focus groups, observations, and surveys.
  • Define: In this phase, we collect and categorize information from the Empathize phase . It’s here where we define User Personas and User Journeys.
  • Ideate: Using the above information, here the team ideates solutions. There are no silly or wrong ideas! Everything must be expressed and documented.
  • Prototype: During this phase, something tangible is created, that will allow you to verify your idea in real life. Don’t overcomplicate and create this MVP as quickly as possible.
  • Test: Verify your idea in real life with actual users. Get feedback. Ask questions on how to improve it.
  • Implement: This is the phase where all the collected knowledge gets translated into a final product.

If after reading this you may be thinking: “This is great but how is this going to help to quickly make my app a reality.” In order to make this more tangible, I will go over a case study for design thinking from my personal experience.

Design Thinking Project: A Real-life Case Study

Intro: project x.

Some time ago, I found myself at a meeting with an entrepreneur, a few managers , and many ideas flying around the room. Their direct competitor had recently released a new application and the tension was palpable. The company wanted to go out with something new on the market, to avoid losing ground to their competitor.

They prepared a document with some requirements, a vague idea of what the product should look like, and how much should it cost.

“We have to follow what others have done, with a lower price,” the Marketing Director said. “We have to create a more usable system, which simplifies the user journey,” added another manager. “We have to change the way we collect information, simplify it and integrate our processes with third parties,” said another. “It will take us months,” the technical manager shook his head, who mentally translated all those requests into hundreds of hours of code to be implemented.

While I can’t disclose all of the project details, I can disclose that the product was hub communication software . This piece of software managed different channels (email to SMS, fax to VoIP) and it was created for the web and mobile platforms. The product was originally created a few years before, but its usability was poor. At the time of the launch, the competitor was far ahead in terms of user experience. Moreover, they had an excellent mobile app, which was gaining ground in the mobile app store.

Company X was a traditional process driven company, familiar with traditional projects. It had run a few Agile projects in the past, but it was new to the idea of creating an MVP and testing it on the market. More notably, they feared the unknown. What if the new MVP would have an undesirable or unpredictable effect on their customer user base? This lack of control didn’t inspire confidence.

The meeting described above and the following ones did not lead to a clear definition of what the product to be achieved actually was. We only knew that we had to hit the target as soon as possible.

However as the project progressed and a competitor was beginning to gain traction, consent from the company was solidifying. Most agreed with the idea that: “We cannot afford to launch a half-finished product, we need a product that is working from the start.”

Despite some initial perplexity and fear, this was an opportunity to learn what would bring real value to their user base and potentially attract more users by making a streamlined lightweight product.

This prompted the company to look for approaches that they haven’t tried before, in order to have a complete product built on time even if it’s going to have only essential features at its launch. We decided to use the Design Thinking process and focus on the things that would really bring value to the end user and thus, beat the competition by bringing only what’s necessary to the customer.

Stage 1 - Empathize

Empathizing Phase: The goal of this phase is to understand your customer, by searching and gathering information about their business. During this phase, we can use several different tools, such as interviews, focus groups, observations, and surveys.

Image of sample graphs utilized during the Empathizing Phase.

In the most literal sense, empathy is the ability to understand and share the emotions of others. In design thinking, empathy is a “ deep understanding of the problems and realities of the people you are designing for.”

Our first step was to ensure that the Highest Paid Person’s Opinion (otherwise known as HiPPO) was not ruling over everyone else’s. Therefore, together with managers and the founder, we have compiled a list of possible stakeholders to be involved in the decision-making process.

In a day-long meeting, we compiled the first list of 30 names (between employees, functional managers, and customers) that could be contacted directly and then we also picked a target audience of 4000 customers (about 10% of their recurring customer user base).

We tried to “normalize” our target customer base as much as possible, by including diversity in terms of gender distribution, industry, and other data points. To add an additional level of complexity, the physical location of the sample to be interviewed were all divided into different cities and in some cases countries. We now had points of contacts to carry out interviews and questionnaires.

The group was organized to carry out the interviews remotely, following a scripted set of questions and some basic rules:

  • During the interview, try to use the “ 5 Whys ” technique.
  • Try to understand the main “What, How, Why” behind every behavior.
  • Make sure the interviewee used a webcam and that there was sufficient distance from the camera to be able to at least partially include the body language.
  • Record all interviews, in case they need to be seen in the future.

We prepared our interview questions with the intention of understanding which main features should be enhanced or eliminated, such that we could quickly build a new version that responded to the needs of our users.

For the second group of users, we prepared a series of questions in a Google form . We opted for multiple-choice questions, with some formulated open-ended questions to facilitate more interaction from the users, including a question requiring the user to try the new version of the product just available in closed beta.

To organize the entire information gathering process, we used remote tools that allowed the team to collect information more easily, including Skype, Zoom, Google Forms, and a digital Kanban Board where we put all of our activities and tracked their status.

Sample diagram of information gathering.

The first results of the interviews were encouraging, as the interviewees were open to providing feedback on the weaknesses and the strengths of the system.

However, the first batch of questionnaire answers was much less exciting: out of all 300 emails sent, only 5 people completed their questionnaires.

Disappointed by this result, we were ready to try new ways to involve the user base, when one of the sales managers came to us with an idea:

“I do not think they will answer any emails, they are not used to interacting with us. But, if we communicate with all those who have an expiring renewal and give them a small incentive, I am sure they will give us a hand.”

The idea was simple but exceptional. In a few hours, we had a new list of users (3800), which maintained the same division between the mainstream and extremes. However, these users would be “forced” to interact with the system, due to the proximity of their renewal.

This time around, they were asked to answer a series of questions, participate in the beta and in return, get a discount on renewal. The adhesion was complete and at the first delivery of this new model, over 70% of users replied and completed the questionnaire.

After iterating and changing some of the questions, and thanks to some users willing to interview more than once, we were ready to define our user base more clearly.

Stage 2 - Define

Defining Stage: In this phase, we collect and categorize information from the Empathize phase. It’s here where we define User Personas and User Journeys.

Sample user persona.

The dictionary meaning of define is to determine the identity and the essential qualities of a notion . In our case we wanted to define the following:

  • our ideal customers
  • their problems
  • the solutions to their problems
  • the needs and fears of our customers that we had to address

In the design thinking terms, the define phase is where you analyze your observations and synthesize them into core problems that you have identified.

We had a sufficient database to understand what the real problems were. In addition to the feedback received in the Empathize phase, it contained points that were highlighted by Company X employees but had never been pointed out to management, as well as strengths, weaknesses, and other problems that have never been taken into account.

The next action was to create our User Personas. During this brainstorming phase, we involved the entire extended team. The brainstorming phase was always performed remotely, using video-conferencing systems and tools to track the personas and their creation in real time.

For each Persona, we identified their biography, their approach to technology, their use of social media, preferred brands, their needs, and ideas and speculated on what would have been their Customer Journey.

After this, we had selected the common client User Personas and had a finished set of data coming from interviews and surveys. This was the right time to get our hands dirty.

During the definition phase, we tried to transform a generic definition of a problem like, “We need a product that will increase our sales by 10%,” into a more specific solution like: “Men and adult women, between 35 and 45 years that are working in an office need to receive communications that have a legal validity to be sure that the sender is actually who they say they are.”

At this point in the project process, we had completed brainstorming sessions around our users, hypothesized solutions, and kept an open mind to every possible innovation. “The only stupid idea is the one never expressed” was the mantra.

In a short time, bearing in mind who our subjects were, we had a clear view of what was useful to our users, along with what needs and fears we should address along the customer journey.

We then engaged in building a “User Story Map,” which allowed us to categorize the process of users, mapping up to themes. For each of the personas, we defined the set of activities, stories, and tasks that we assumed they must complete during the journey. In doing so, we could quickly test our idea and understand if it met the core needs. If it did, we could bring it into the market faster than everyone else which was essential as our competitor was becoming more successful every day.

Stage 3 - Ideate

Ideation Phase: Using the above information, here the team ideates solutions. There are no silly or wrong ideas! Everything must be expressed and documented.

One step further from the definition is the Ideation phase, where the key is forming real concepts and solution, not just abstract definitions.

In design thinking terms, ideation is “the process where you generate ideas and solutions through sessions such as Sketching, Prototyping, Brainstorming, Brainwriting, Worst Possible Idea, and a wealth of other ideation techniques.”

Our team was completely remote so we decided to proceed to work in a Lean way when producing materials and reviewing them. For example, designers and other members of the team have agreed that to be as fast as possible, the best solution would be to start with drawings on paper and to share photos of them in the group. Only then we would produce the most interesting designs in Balsamiq or Axure.

Sample wireframe.

For each sketch that was produced, we gathered information from users, we defined a set of solutions and we came back to those users (whenever it was possible and as often as it was possible) to test with them the process and the result.

Stage 4 - Prototype

Prototyping Phase: _ During this phase, something tangible is created, that will allow you to verify your idea in real life. Don’t overcomplicate and create this MVP as quickly as possible. _

Sample wireframe.

During the prototype phase, it was finally time to make our definitions and ideas come to life. A prototype is the first, original model of a proposed product, and this is exactly what we set out to build. By design thinking standards, the prototype stage is where you create an inexpensive, scaled down versions of the real product to investigate solutions from the previous stages.

After almost 10 days from the beginning of our journey, we arrived at the crucial moment, a meeting with a developer team where we had a chance to check our assumptions and estimations. After a session of consultation and definition with the team of developers, we weighed the stories and understood that the major effort of the development work will be in the development of the back-end system and interfacing with the legacy systems currently in place. Alongside this, we also realized that creating the front-end systems will be a much shorter exercise. Thus, we decided to create a front-end prototype using the components which already existed in the system to save time.

We had a time limit of 3 days to have a first version of the prototype ready. This prototype had to reflect the product as much as possible and maintain the necessary functionality.

After 3 days we had our first version of the prototype ready. It had “fake” data which reflected the behavior of the software we were aiming to create. Some accessory elements were missing, but the software in that state visually represented a good percentage of total content planned.

At the end of two weeks of work, we had software that we could try and test with actual users. We used user experience monitoring software to analyze heat maps and user attention, while they were navigating our prototype.

Stage 5 - Test

Testing Phase - Verify your idea in real life with actual users. Get feedback. Ask questions on how to improve it.

After a definition, ideation and a prototype phases it was finally time to see if our product actually worked in real life. In design thinking terms, testing means putting the complete product to trial using the best solutions created in the prototyping phase.

In our case, the testing phase did not only take place at the end, but it was a constant loop of feedback and iteration whenever it was possible. At the end of each accomplished step, we tried to get feedback from users or customers, before convincing ourselves to move on to the next phase.

Once the prototype was completed, it was time to test it with the widest possible audience and check with them how effectively it met their needs, understand their perception, and understand if it accomplished their goals.

The testing phase specifically included a walkthrough prototype where users were able to see the new workflow and perform actions, along with a few sessions where the team directly observed users, while tracking their responses. A simple questionnaire was used to collect conversion rates across specific features in the platform, where users were asked to score the process from 1-10.

The testing phase was later extended to the whole team and even to some individuals outside the organization (customers and users) who during the earlier sessions, had willingly consented to give their feedback on the implementation of the system.

The results of this testing were encouraging. The stakeholders of the Company X were able not only to see the mockups but to try out and “touch” the product for the very first time. The extended team had the opportunity to test and verify their assumptions and correct them over time within the period of two weeks.

Now the final test was waiting: opening it to users and understanding what would happen next.

Stage 6 - Implement

Implementation Phase: This is the phase where all the collected knowledge gets translated into a final product.

We had data, ideas, personas, and our first tangible prototype. It was time to roll up our sleeves and start developing. We had a month and a half to implement our new system.

We defined a set of rules to get our MVP implemented in a short period of time:

  • We will build only what we had defined, without adding new features.
  • We will keep ourselves focus on the main business goal.
  • We will use agile methodologies within teams to manage the workload.

To complete the project in time we have brought on a few new team members who had not been involved in the project since the very early stages of the discovery phase.

We added frontend developers, backend developers, and designers. The new members of the team were working remotely and it was not possible to bring them all in the same room for the period of the project, so we made sure that we have the right tools for keeping the communication going.

The process put in place to manage the work was an Agile one. We divided the remaining time into several short sprints, with remote meetings every day and updates via Slack during the day to exchange the ideas and to help each other to solve problems.

We didn’t have a full documentation stored somewhere, but mentally we all had a comprehensive set of actions, a common shared vision, and goals amongst the team. We all started to perceive the User Personas to be a real user, with his own needs and problems. Once our team started to have an aligned vision, we moved onto defining what needed to be done and when in order to finish the project on time.

The activities were outlined within a User Story Map, to maintain the original evidence of the personas and the flow we want to give to the product.

The User Story maps were created via three clear steps: identifying the activities, identifying the steps required to complete the activity, and the list of stories/tasks associated with each. We sorted the stories according to priority (Must, Should, Could), which dictated what components made it into the product.

The team was able to proceed in a fast pace since the very beginning of the implementation, thanks to a clear vision shared by the team, and by the method we employed which enabled the team to stay on track without direct steering from the management above. Everyone working in the project had questions from the Design Thinking stages in mind:

  • What action each user inside our platform should perform and what were they trying to achieve?
  • Which steps those users should take to reach the final goal?
  • Which pain points they had before and how should we avoid them?

This allowed our team to make their own micro-decisions, and steer the product towards its final goal.

We made two reviews of the work in progress at the end of each sprint and one final release review at the end of the path, before the product was finally put into production. We used the last sprint to prepare the infrastructure needed to run and launch the product.

Finally, the users who have used our old product were invited again to try out the new version. Our product was released into production two months after the meeting in which the idea to make it was expressed. The product worked, users started using it, and we progressively sent more new users to this tool instead of the old one. A/B testing showed us that they preferred the new product, and the project was accepted in the company as a great success.

More importantly, a Design Thinking methodology was finally accepted. We believe this will have a good and long-lasting impact and will allow them to build better products in the future.

Design Thinking Graph

Throughout this case study, we have shown how Design Thinking methodology can be applied to a real-life problem with a limited time and budget.

Instead of using more traditional approaches and producing things in sequential steps, we have chosen to iterate through the six design thinking stages. Empathize. Define. Ideate. Prototype. Test. Implement. This became our mantra and allowed us to produce a very well received product.

Using Design Thinking has lead so to save time, and in turn, save costs spend on the project. We were not working on millions of different features, but only on few, well thought through actions that were clear to everybody in the team. Most importantly, we were able to deliver the product and value that users needed.

Using Design Thinking process helped us in many different areas:

  • From the project management perspective, it enabled us to clearly define the scope of the project and prevent scope creep.
  • From the business perspective, it allowed us to pick the features which bring the real value to the business.
  • From the development perspective, it helped us see the clear goal of what we have to build before we even started building it.
  • From the team perspective, it involved all team members and allowed them to effectively work together and have their opinion heard in every part of the process.

When we started Design Thinking process was met with skepticism by the client, but when we finished and got the feedback from our customers, it was immediately clear that the steps we have laid out have helped us to achieve something that would have been very hard or impossible otherwise. This was valued by the client and became their internal a flagship project for the future challenges ahead.

Understanding the basics

Design Thinking is a methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solve problems, focusing on understanding the user perspective, with a human-centered point of view.

Why is Design Thinking useful?

Design Thinking is particularly useful because it generates a unique and specific outcome: knowledge.

What phases does the Design Thinking process have?

  • Empathize. 2. Define. 3. Ideate. 4. Prototype. 5. Test. 6. Implement.
  • ProjectManagement
  • Designthinking

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UX Case Studies

What are ux case studies.

UX case studies are examples of design work which designers include in their portfolio. To give recruiters vital insights, designers tell compelling stories in text and images to show how they handled problems. Such narratives showcase designers’ skills and ways of thinking and maximize their appeal as potential hires.

“ Every great design begins with an even better story.” — Lorinda Mamo, Designer and creative director
  • Transcript loading...

Discover why it’s important to tell a story in your case studies.

How to Approach UX Case Studies

Recruiters want candidates who can communicate through designs and explain themselves clearly and appealingly. While skimming UX portfolios , they’ll typically decide within 5 minutes if you’re a fit. So, you should boost your portfolio with 2–3 case studies of your work process containing your best copywriting and captivating visual aids. You persuade recruiters by showing your skillset, thought processes, choices and actions in context through engaging, image-supported stories .

Before selecting a project for a case study, you should get your employer’s/client’s permission – whether you’ve signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or not.

Then, consider Greek philosopher Aristotle’s storytelling elements and work with these in mind when you start building your case studies:

Plot – The career-related aspect of yourself you want to highlight. This should be consistent across your case studies for the exact role. So, if you want to land a job as a UX researcher, focus on the skills relevant to that in your case studies.

Character – Your expertise in applying industry standards and working in teams.

Theme – Goals, motivations and obstacles in your project.

Diction – A friendly, professional tone in jargon-free plain English.

Melody – Your passion—for instance, as a designer, where you prove it’s a life interest as opposed to something you just clock on and off at for a job.

Décor – A balance of engaging text and images.

Spectacle – The plot twist/wow factor—e.g., a surprise discovery. Obviously, you can only include this if you had a surprise discovery in your case study.

design journey case study

All good stories have a beginning, a middle and an end.

© Interaction Design Foundation. CC BY-NC-SA 3.0.

How to Build UX Case Studies

You want an active story with a beginning, middle and end – never a flat report . So, you’d write, e.g., “We found…”, not “It was found…”. You should anonymize information to protect your employer’s/client’s confidential data (by changing figures to percentages, removing unnecessary details, etc.).

You can use German novelist-playwright Gustav Freytag’s 5-part pyramid :

Exposition – the introduction (4–5 sentences) . Describe your:

Problem statement – Include your motivations and thoughts/feelings about the problem.

Your solution – Outline your approach. Hint at the outcome by describing your deliverables/final output.

Your role – Explain how your professional identity matched the project.

Stages 2–4 form the middle (more than 5 sentences) . Summarize the process and highlight your decisions:

Rising action – Outline some obstacles/constraints (e.g., budget) to build conflict and explain your design process (e.g., design thinking ). Describe how you used, e.g., qualitative research to progress to 1 or 2 key moments of climax.

Climax – Highlight this, your story’s apex, with an intriguing factor (e.g., unexpected challenges). Choose only the most important bits to tighten narrative and build intrigue.

Falling action – Show how you combined your user insights, ideas and decisions to guide your project’s final iterations. Explain how, e.g., usability testing helped you/your team shape the final product.

Stage 5 is the conclusion:

Resolution – (4–5 sentences) . Showcase your end results as how your work achieved its business-oriented goal and what you learned. Refer to the motivations and problems you described earlier to bring your story to an impressive close.

Overall, you should:

Tell a design story that progresses meaningfully and smoothly .

Tighten/rearrange your account into a linear, straightforward narrative .

Reinforce each “what” you introduce with a “how” and “why” .

Support text with the most appropriate visuals (e.g., screenshots of the final product, wireframing , user personas , flowcharts , customer journey maps , Post-it notes from brainstorming ). Use software (e.g., Canva, Illustrator) to customize good-looking visuals that help tell your story .

Balance “I” with “we” to acknowledge team-members’ contributions and shared victories/setbacks.

Make your case study scannable – E.g., Use headings as signposts.

Remove anything that doesn’t help explain your thought process or advance the story .

In the video, Michal Malewicz, Creative Director and CEO of Hype4, has some tips for writing great case studies.

design journey case study

Typical dramatic structure consists of an exposition and resolution with rising action, climax and falling action in between.

Remember, hirers want to quickly spot the value of what you did— e.g., research findings—and feel engaged every step of the way . They’ll evaluate how you might fit their culture. Use the right tone to balance your passion and logic in portraying yourself as a trustworthy team player. Sometimes, you may have to explain why your project didn’t work out ideally. The interaction design process is iterative, so include any follow-up actions you took/would take. Your UX case studies should project the thoughts, feelings and actions that define how you can shape future designs and create value for business.

Learn More about UX Case Studies

Take our UX Portfolio course to see how to craft powerful UX case studies.

UX designer and entrepreneur Sarah Doody offers eye-opening advice about UX case studies .

Learn what can go wrong in UX case studies .

See fine examples of UX case studies .

Questions related to UX Case Studies

A UX case study showcases a designer's process in solving a specific design problem. It includes a problem statement, the designer's role, and the solution approach. The case study details the challenges and methods used to overcome them. It highlights critical decisions and their impact on the project.

The narrative often contains visuals like wireframes or user flowcharts. These elements demonstrate the designer's skills and thought process. The goal is to show potential employers or clients the value the designer can bring to a team or project. This storytelling approach helps the designer stand out in the industry.

To further illustrate this, consider watching this insightful video on the role of UX design in AI projects. It emphasizes the importance of credibility and user trust in technology. 

Consider these three detailed UX/UI case studies:

Travel UX & UI Case Study : This case study examines a travel-related project. It emphasizes user experience and interface design. It also provides insights into the practical application of UX/UI design in the travel industry.

HAVEN — UX/UI Case Study : This explores the design of a fictional safety and emergency assistance app, HAVEN. The study highlights user empowerment, interaction, and interface design. It also talks about the importance of accessibility and inclusivity. 

UX Case Study — Whiskers : This case study discusses a fictional pet care mobile app, Whiskers. It focuses on the unique needs of pet care users. It shows the user journey, visual design, and integration of community and social features.

Writing a UX case study involves several key steps:

Identify a project you have worked on. Describe the problem you addressed.

Detail your role in the project and the specific actions you took.

Explain your design process, including research , ideation , and user testing.

Highlight key challenges and how you overcame them.

Showcase the final design through visuals like screenshots or prototypes . This video discusses why you should include visuals in your UX case study/portfolio.

Reflect on the project's impact and any lessons learned.

Conclude with the outcomes. Showcase the value you provided.

A well-written case study tells a compelling story of your design journey. It shows your skills and thought process.

A case study in UI/UX is a detailed account of a design project. It describes a designer's process to solve a user interface or user experience problem. The case study includes

The project's background and the problem it addresses.

The designer's role and the steps they took.

Methods used for research and testing.

Challenges faced and how the designer overcame them.

The final design solutions with visual examples.

Results and impact of the design on users or the business.

This case study showcases a designer’s skills, decision-making process, and ability to solve real-world problems.

A UX writing case study focuses on the role of language in user experience design. It includes:

The project's background and the specific language-related challenges.

The UX writer's role and the strategies they employed.

How did they create the text for interfaces, like buttons or error messages?

Research and testing methods used to refine the language.

Challenges encountered and solutions developed.

The final text and its impact on user experience and engagement.

Outcomes that show how the right words improved the product's usability.

You can find professionals with diverse backgrounds in this field and their unique approaches to UX writing. Torrey Podmakersky discusses varied paths into UX writing careers through his video. 

Planning a case study for UX involves several steps: 

First, select a meaningful project that showcases your skills and problem-solving abilities. Gather all relevant information, including project goals, user research data, and design processes used. 

Next, outline the structure of your case study. This should include the problem you addressed, your role, the design process, and the outcomes. 

Ensure to detail the challenges faced and how you overcame them. 

To strengthen your narrative, incorporate visuals like wireframes, prototypes, and user feedback . 

Finally, reflect on the project's impact and what you learned. 

This careful planning helps you create a comprehensive and engaging case study.

Presenting a UX research case study involves clear organization and storytelling. 

Here are eight guidelines:

Introduction: Start with a brief overview of the project, including its objectives and the key research question.

Background: Provide context about the company, product, or service. Explain why you did the research. 

Methodology: Detail the research methods, like surveys, interviews, or usability testing. 

Findings: Present the key findings from your research. Use visuals like charts or user quotes to better present the data. 

Challenges and Solutions: Discuss any obstacles encountered during the research and how you addressed them.

Implications: Explain how your findings impacted the design or product strategy.

Conclusion: Summarize the main points and reflect on what you learned from the project.

Appendix (if necessary): Include any additional data or materials that support your case study.

UX case studies for beginners demonstrate the fundamentals of user experience design. They include:

A defined problem statement to clarify the user experience issue.

Descriptions of research methods used for understanding user needs and behaviors.

Steps of the design process, showing solution development. The 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process illustrate these steps in detail. 

Visual elements, such as sketches, wireframes, or prototypes, illustrate the design stages.

The final design solution emphasizes its impact on user experience.

Reflections on the project's outcomes and lessons learned.

These case studies guide beginners through the essential steps and considerations in UX design projects. Consider watching this video on How to Write Great Case Studies for Your UX Design Portfolio to improve your case studies.

To learn more about UX case studies, two excellent resources are available:

Article on Structuring a UX Case Study : This insightful article explains how to craft a compelling case study. It emphasizes storytelling and the strategic thinking behind UX design, guided by expert opinions and industry insights.

User Experience: The Beginner's Guide Course by the Interaction Design Foundation: This comprehensive course offers a broad introduction to UX design. It covers UX principles, tools, and methods. The course provides practical exercises and industry-recognized certification. This course is valuable for aspiring designers and professionals transitioning to UX.

These resources provide both theoretical knowledge and practical application in UX design.

Literature on UX Case Studies

Here’s the entire UX literature on UX Case Studies by the Interaction Design Foundation, collated in one place:

Learn more about UX Case Studies

Take a deep dive into UX Case Studies with our course How to Create a UX Portfolio .

Did you know the average UX recruiter spends less than 5 minutes skimming through your UX portfolio? If you want to join the growing and well-paid field of UX design, not only do you need a UX portfolio— you’ll need a great UX portfolio that showcases relevant skills and knowledge . Your UX portfolio will help you get your first job interviews and freelance clients, and it will also force you to stay relevant in your UX career. In other words, no matter what point you’re at in your UX career, you’re going to need a UX portfolio that’s in tip-top condition.

So, how do you build an enticing UX portfolio, especially if you’ve got no prior experience in UX design? Well, that’s exactly what you’ll learn in this course! You’ll cover everything so you can start from zero and end up with an incredible UX portfolio . For example, you’ll walk through the various UX job roles, since you can’t begin to create your portfolio without first understanding which job role you want to apply for! You’ll also learn how to create your first case studies for your portfolio even if you have no prior UX design work experience. You’ll even learn how to navigate non-disclosure agreements and create visuals for your UX case studies.

By the end of this practical, how to oriented course, you’ll have the skills needed to create your personal online UX portfolio site and PDF UX portfolio. You’ll receive tips and insights from recruiters and global UX design leads from SAP, Oracle and Google to give you an edge over your fellow candidates. You’ll learn how to craft your UX case studies so they’re compelling and relevant, and you’ll also learn how to engage recruiters through the use of Freytag’s dramatic structure and 8 killer tips to write effectively. What’s more, you’ll get to download and keep more than 10 useful templates and samples that will guide you closely as you craft your UX portfolio. To sum it up, if you want to create a UX portfolio and land your first job in the industry, this is the course for you!

All open-source articles on UX Case Studies

How to write the conclusion of your case study.

design journey case study

  • 5 years ago

How to create the perfect structure for a UX case study

design journey case study

What Should a UX Design Portfolio Contain?

design journey case study

How to write the beginning of your UX case study

design journey case study

  • 4 years ago

What is a UX Portfolio?

design journey case study

How to write the middle or “process” part of your case study

design journey case study

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We believe in Open Access and the  democratization of knowledge . Unfortunately, world class educational materials such as this page are normally hidden behind paywalls or in expensive textbooks.

If you want this to change , cite this page , link to us, or join us to help us democratize design knowledge !

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Simply copy and paste the text below into your bibliographic reference list, onto your blog, or anywhere else. You can also just hyperlink to this page.

New to UX Design? We’re Giving You a Free ebook!

The Basics of User Experience Design

Download our free ebook The Basics of User Experience Design to learn about core concepts of UX design.

In 9 chapters, we’ll cover: conducting user interviews, design thinking, interaction design, mobile UX design, usability, UX research, and many more!

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  • Oct 4, 2023

Five Successful Product Design Case Studies that Drive Business Growth

Five Successful Product Design Case Studies that Drives Business Growth

Product design is a powerful catalyst for driving business growth. It goes beyond creating aesthetically pleasing products and delves into crafting compelling user experiences that captivate your target audience.

When your product resonates with customers emotionally, it establishes a strong connection that translates into brand loyalty, increased sales, and sustained business growth.

Paying careful attention to every aspect of your product's design, from its functionality to its visual appeal, can differentiate your brand and create a competitive advantage in the market.

a team brainstorming and sketching product design ideas

In this article, we will explore five remarkable product design case studies that exemplify the impact of product design on driving business growth. These real-life examples showcase how companies like Apple Inc., Tesla Inc., Airbnb, Slack, and Coca-Cola leveraged product design to revolutionize their industries and achieve remarkable success.

By dissecting these case studies, we can extract valuable insights and actionable strategies that can be applied to your product, UI, or UX design projects.

Before we explore the case studies, it's worth mentioning our previous articles that provide a broader context. In " What to Ask Before a Product Design Project? (18 Top Questions!) ," we discussed the key questions to ask before starting a product design project.

Asking the right questions helps you gain a deeper understanding of your target audience, define clear goals, and lay the foundation for effective product design that drives business growth.

Now, let's delve into the captivating case studies that demonstrate the power of product design in driving business growth.

Table of Content

Case study 1: apple inc. - iphone, key takeaways from apple's product design strategy, case study 2: tesla inc. - model s.

Lessons to Learn from Telsa's Product Design Approach

Case Study 3: Airbnb - User Interface Redesign

Key learnings from airbnb's ui design transformation, case study 4: slack - user experience enhancement, noteworthy insights from slack's ux design journey, case study 5: coca-cola - packaging redesign, valuable takeaways from coca-cola's packaging design approach, final thoughts.

Launch Your Products With Ease at the BraveUX Platform

Further Reading

the evolution of iPhone designs over the years.

Background of Apple Inc. and Its Focus on Product Design

Apple Inc., renowned for its commitment to innovation, has made product design a cornerstone of its success. The company consistently strives to create products that blend cutting-edge technology with elegant design.

From the Macintosh to the iPod, Apple has demonstrated its prowess in delivering exceptional user experiences. The iPhone is a standout example of Apple's dedication to product design [ 1 ].

Overview of the iPhone's Revolutionary Design

Upon its release in 2007, the iPhone revolutionized the smartphone industry with its sleek and intuitive design. It introduced a touchscreen interface that eliminated the need for physical keyboards, paving the way for a new era of user interaction.

The iPhone's minimalist aesthetics and seamless hardware and software integration set a new smartphone standard, captivating users worldwide [ 2 ].

Impact of iPhone's Design on Apple's Business Growth

The design of the iPhone played a pivotal role in propelling Apple's business growth. The combination of its sleek appearance, user-friendly interface, and innovative features garnered a dedicated following of loyal customers.

The iPhone's success not only boosted Apple's revenue but also solidified the brand's reputation as a leader in the tech industry. Its iconic design became synonymous with quality, reliability, and cutting-edge technology, driving customer loyalty and market dominance [ 3 ].

Apple's product design strategy offers valuable insights for businesses aiming to drive growth. Firstly, emphasizing the seamless integration of hardware and software demonstrates the importance of holistic user experiences.

Secondly, Apple's commitment to sleek and minimalist aesthetics showcases the power of visual appeal in capturing consumer attention.

Lastly, the iPhone's continuous evolution through iterative design updates highlights the significance of staying ahead of market trends and consistently improving the user experience.

By studying Apple's product design approach, businesses can learn the importance of prioritizing user-centric design, pushing boundaries to create innovative experiences, and adapting to evolving consumer needs. Apple's success with the iPhone serves as a testament to the transformative impact of effective product design on business growth.

The Model S cars

Tesla Inc. and Its Emphasis on Product Design

Tesla Inc., the visionary electric vehicle manufacturer led by Elon Musk, strongly emphasizes product design.

The company's commitment to creating innovative, sustainable, and visually striking vehicles has set it apart in the automotive industry. One standout example of Tesla's product design excellence is the Model S [ 4 ].

The Model S's Design Features

The Model S, Tesla's flagship electric vehicle, boasts a design that seamlessly merges performance, sustainability, and luxury. Its sleek silhouette, aerodynamic curves, and clean lines not only contribute to its striking visual appeal but also optimize its efficiency and range.

Inside, the Model S offers a minimalist yet sophisticated cabin with a large touchscreen display that controls various vehicle functions. Its emphasis on cutting-edge technology and user-friendly interfaces ensures an engaging and intuitive driving experience [ 5 ].

Influence of Model S's Design on Tesla's Business Success

The design of the Model S has played a significant role in driving Tesla's business success.

By challenging the status quo of traditional automotive design, Tesla captured the imagination of consumers and positioned itself as an industry disruptor.

The Model S's sleek aesthetics and advanced electric powertrain attracted early adopters and environmentally conscious consumers, establishing Tesla as a premium brand in the electric vehicle market. Its innovative design and exceptional performance and range have garnered a loyal customer base, driving Tesla's exponential growth and market value [ 6 ].

Lessons to Learn from Tesla's Product Design Approach

Tesla's product design approach offers valuable lessons for businesses aiming to make an impact. Firstly, integrating sustainability and cutting-edge technology showcases the importance of addressing environmental concerns while delivering exceptional performance.

Secondly, the focus on creating visually appealing and luxurious designs demonstrates the power of evoking desire and emotions in consumers. Lastly, Tesla's commitment to continuous innovation and pushing the boundaries of electric vehicle design highlights the significance of staying ahead of the competition and shaping industry trends [ 7 ].

Studying Tesla's product design approach helps businesses gain insights into the importance of combining sustainability, technology, and aesthetics.

Tesla's success with the Model S exemplifies how groundbreaking design can position a brand as a leader in a competitive market, capturing the hearts and minds of consumers.

A user interacting with the Airbnb app on a mobile device.

Airbnb's Platform and Its UI Design Evolution

Airbnb, the renowned online marketplace for vacation rentals, has significantly evolved its user interface (UI) design. Initially starting as a simple platform, Airbnb recognized the need to enhance its UI to provide a seamless and delightful user experience. Over time, the platform's UI design has evolved, integrating user feedback, market trends, and technological advancements to create a more intuitive and visually appealing interface [ 8 ].

Examination of Airbnb's User Interface Redesign Process

Airbnb's UI redesign process involved a comprehensive analysis of user behavior, pain points, and preferences.

The company conducted extensive research, incorporating user feedback and conducting usability testing to identify areas for improvement.

With a focus on simplicity and clarity, Airbnb refined its UI design, streamlining navigation, enhancing search functionality, and optimizing the booking process. The redesign also aligned the platform's visuals with the aspirations and emotions associated with travel and accommodation [ 9 ].

Positive Impact of UI Redesign on Airbnb's Business Growth

The UI redesign had a profound positive impact on Airbnb's business growth. The enhanced user experience increased engagement, conversion rates, and customer satisfaction.

By making the platform more intuitive and visually appealing, Airbnb attracted a wider user base, including hosts and guests, fostering trust and loyalty.

The positive word-of-mouth generated by the improved UI design further contributed to Airbnb's growth, solidifying its position as a leader in the vacation rental market [ 10 ].

Airbnb's UI design transformation offers valuable insights for businesses seeking to enhance their user experiences. Firstly, a user-centered approach, grounded in research and usability testing, is crucial in identifying pain points and understanding user behavior.

Secondly, simplicity and clarity are key to creating an intuitive and engaging UI design. Lastly, aligning the visual design with the emotional aspects of the platform's purpose can resonate with users on a deeper level, fostering a connection and driving business growth [ 11 ].

By studying Airbnb's UI design transformation, businesses can learn the importance of continuously improving the user experience, leveraging user feedback and data-driven insights.

the Slack platform, displaying its user-friendly interface and collaborative features.

Slack and Its Focus on User Experience

Slack, the popular communication and collaboration platform, strongly emphasizes user experience (UX). Recognizing that seamless and intuitive interactions are key to productivity and collaboration, Slack has continuously sought to enhance its UX design.

Slack aims to create a platform that fosters efficient communication and teamwork by prioritizing user-centered design principles [ 12 ].

Slack's UX Design Improvements

Slack's UX design journey has involved a series of improvements to optimize the user experience.

The platform has focused on simplifying navigation, streamlining messaging features, and integrating additional functionalities to enhance productivity.

Slack has refined its interface through iterative design updates, ensuring that users can effortlessly navigate channels, search for information, and collaborate effectively within teams. These improvements reflect Slack's commitment to delivering a seamless and enjoyable user experience.

How Enhanced UX Design Contributed to Slack's Business Growth

The enhanced UX design of Slack has played a significant role in its business growth. By creating an intuitive and user-friendly platform, Slack has attracted a large user base and gained a strong foothold in the market.

The improved user experience has increased user engagement, driving higher adoption rates and fostering long-term customer loyalty. The platform's reputation for delivering exceptional UX has been instrumental in Slack's rise as a leading communication and collaboration tool [ 13 ].

Slack's UX design journey offers valuable insights for businesses seeking to enhance their user experiences. Firstly, prioritizing simplicity and ease of use is crucial in creating an intuitive and enjoyable platform.

Secondly, understanding user workflows and pain points enables the identification of areas for improvement. Lastly, consistent iterations and updates based on user feedback and evolving needs are key to delivering a superior UX that drives business growth [ 14 ].

When you study Slack's UX design approach, you learn the importance of user-centric design, continuous improvement, and staying attuned to user needs.

comparing the new and old packaging designs of Coca-Cola products

Coca-Cola and Its Packaging Design Legacy

Coca-Cola, a globally recognized beverage brand, has a rich history and a legacy of impactful packaging design. Over the years, Coca-Cola has become synonymous with its iconic red and white packaging, which has left a lasting imprint on consumer culture. The brand's commitment to innovative packaging design has significantly shaped its identity and success in the market [ 15 ].

Coca-Cola's Packaging Redesign Strategy

Coca-Cola's packaging redesign strategy involved carefully analyzing evolving consumer preferences, market trends, and sustainability goals. The brand recognized the need to align its packaging with changing consumer demands and environmental considerations.

Through a thoughtful and meticulous process, Coca-Cola introduced new packaging designs that embraced modern aesthetics, sustainable materials, and personalized options to cater to diverse consumer segments [ 16 ].

Influence of Packaging Redesign on Coca-Cola's Business Success

The packaging redesign efforts of Coca-Cola have had a profound influence on its business success. By refreshing its packaging design, Coca-Cola has connected with new generations of consumers while maintaining its loyal customer base.

The updated designs attracted attention on store shelves and created a sense of novelty and excitement around the brand. This, in turn, led to increased sales, strengthened brand loyalty, and a positive impact on Coca-Cola's overall market share [ 17 ].

Coca-Cola's packaging design approach offers valuable takeaways for businesses aiming to enhance their brand presence and drive business growth. Firstly, recognizing and adapting to changing consumer preferences is essential in staying relevant and capturing new markets.

Secondly, embracing sustainability in packaging design can align a brand with consumer values and contribute to a positive brand image. Lastly, creating personalized packaging options can foster a sense of individuality and strengthen the emotional connection between consumers and the brand [ 18 ].

By studying Coca-Cola's packaging design approach, businesses can gain insights into the importance of continually evaluating and evolving their packaging strategies.

These success stories demonstrate that effective product design goes beyond aesthetics – it encompasses user experience, innovation, and differentiation. By prioritizing product design, businesses can create compelling experiences that captivate their target audience, foster brand loyalty, and propel their growth in the competitive market.

Effective product design is a strategic imperative in today's dynamic business landscape. It is about creating visually appealing products and understanding user needs, solving pain points, and delivering memorable experiences.

By prioritizing product design, businesses can gain a competitive advantage, increase customer satisfaction, and ultimately drive long-term success. Investing in exceptional product design is an investment in your business's future growth and sustainability.

The Brave UX Platform Services

Launch Your Products with Ease at the Brave UX Platform

To help businesses achieve their product design goals, we invite you to engage the Brave UX Platform today. Our platform offers various services and solutions to streamline your design process and deliver exceptional results.

With our agile methodology, you can expect an efficient and collaborative design that ensures timely project completion. Our design services focus on creating exceptional user experiences that engage and impress your target audience.

We specialize in conversion-driven design, maximizing your conversion rates and return on investment.

Through our subscription-based design services, you can enjoy unlimited iteration, make the most of your subscription, engage multiple squads, and have unlimited access to source files.

Our platform provides access to top talent and expertise through our design squad, ensuring you work with the best in the field. We offer industry-focused solutions tailored to your specific sector, understanding your industry's unique challenges and opportunities.

We value partnership and collaboration, working closely with you to bring your vision to life. Sign up at the Brave UX Platform today and unleash the power of effective product design to drive your business growth.

Further Reading:

Product Design vs. Product Development: The Differences Explained Learn about the distinctions between product design and development and how they contribute to successful product creation.

5 Common Product Design Mistakes and How to Avoid Them Discover the most common pitfalls in product design and learn practical strategies to avoid them for better design outcomes.

Five Successful Tech Products That Were Made by Mistake Explore the intriguing stories of tech products that unexpectedly became successful and the lessons we can learn from their accidental beginnings.

How Business Analysis And UX/UI Design Collaboration Can Create Better Products Discover the powerful collaboration between business analysis and UX/UI design and how their collaboration can create exceptional products.

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design journey case study

July 24, 2023

As a designer, your website portfolio is your visual signature, your calling card. It’s proof of your professional talent and creativity. But are you finding that prospective clients only grasp the depth of your expertise and the incredible experience of working with you after they have hired you? Or that they don’t seem to fully understand the value you offer?

If so, then your online content may not be building the trust needed to win dream projects.

Your potential clients will visit your website before they ever meet you. So, it’s crucial that they feel your unique value from before they ever meet you. The best way to do this is by writing well-crafted project case studies for your interior design portfolio.

This guide aims to help you craft effective project case studies to generate qualified leads, showcase your work, and sell your unique interior design approach. First, let’s understand why interior design case studies are so important.

Laying the Foundation for Successful Client Relationships

The journey from lead generation, to nurture, and then conversion starts with establishing trust. The best designer website portfolios will help propel your career forward, attracting and converting more of your dream clients . This trust-building process comprises three primary pillars: your website, your brand, and proof you’ve done it before.

Pillar 1: Website Your website acts as your 24/7 salesperson. It reflects your understanding of your client’s design challenges and illustrates how your services can solve them. A well-designed website should showcase your creative design skills while communicating your story and how you can help them renovate (or build!) the home of their dreams.

Pillar 2: Branding Your brand is your business’s persona and should consistently convey professionalism and commitment to quality. Everything from your logo and content tone of voice to your choice of typography should encapsulate your interior design philosophy and unique style.

Pillar 3: Proof Proof is the lifeblood of trust. It’s here where interior design project case studies step in. They offer tangible evidence of your design abilities and experience, showcasing how you’ve successfully navigated design challenges in the past to create beautiful spaces. By detailing your design process, case studies illustrate how you address challenges and consistently deliver high-quality results for your clients.

5 Steps to Creating a Compelling Design Project Case Study

Take a look at this case study by our client and interior designer, Tanna by Design, to see what a great interior design portfolio case study looks like. As you can see, it is more than a mere collection of before-and-after images; it is a structured narrative that includes a project description, goals, challenges, and solutions and in the end showcasing the ultimate results

The steps below will help guide you through creating an enticing portfolio for your website that will win clients over.

Step 1: Write a description A comprehensive description of your project is the cornerstone of every case study, painting a vivid picture of the process for prospective clients. This section’s critical components are as intriguing as the opening chapters of a book, setting the stage for the transformative journey ahead. ● Project type: To truly captivate the reader, begin by painting a vivid picture of the scale of the project. Start by elaborating on the intricate details and complexities involved, describing the extensive scope of the project. Was it a breathtaking full-scale home remodel, where every nook and cranny was transformed into a masterpiece? Or perhaps it was a captivating single room makeover, where a once dull and lifeless space was magically brought to life with stunning design elements and impeccable attention to detail? ● Project size and location: Provide a vivid description of the setting, whether it was a cozy and modern city apartment nestled in the heart of a bustling metropolis or a grand and picturesque country estate surrounded by rolling hills and lush gardens. By delving into the specific details of the location, you will captivate readers and immerse them in the unique atmosphere of the project. ● Current state: Provide a comprehensive and captivating depiction of the original space. Elaborate on the specific materials employed and shed light on the challenges that your client encountered, enabling them to fully grasp the existing conditions being worked with.

Step 2: Describe project goals This section illuminates the client’s desired interior design destination. By outlining the client’s aspirations clearly, you showcase your talent and focus on meeting each individual clients needs and preferences. ● Use of space: Elaborate on whether they required a functional upgrade, like creating more room for entertainment with a dedicated home theater or spacious living room for hosting family and friends. Or was more storage a top priority, with a desire for additional cabinets and custom built shelving? This will ensure that readers grasp the importance of creating personalized and functional spaces. ● Design preferences: When it comes to enhancing functionality in the home, it is crucial to not only meet the specific design style of potential clients but also to create a space that is visually captivating and aesthetically pleasing. By understanding and incorporating their unique preferences, we can ensure that every aspect of their home reflects their personal taste and creates an inviting atmosphere. Trust is key in this process, as we strive to build strong relationships with our clients and assure them that their vision will be brought to life in the most detailed and engaging way possible. ● Functionality and materials: Include details about space utilization and preferred materials that were specific to the requests of the individual project. Focus on the attention that was made to every detail ensuring that each step of the project was carefully considered, resulting in a truly personalized and captivating outcome.

Step 3: Outline challenges faced Unveiling the project’s challenges uncovers the true nature of design work and guarantees that your portfolio showcases the reality – that it’s not always a walk in the park. However, these hurdles highlight your skill in successfully maneuvering through intricate interior design situations.

● Design challenges: To truly grasp the magnitude of the work that was required, it is essential for readers to understand the various constraints faced in terms of space, functionality, and materials. These constraints played a crucial role in shaping the project and ultimately influenced the outcome. Outlining this information showcases the innovative ways you are able to utilize available space efficiently while still ensuring that all necessary elements are incorporated. ● Supplier/contractor challenges: Outline the challenges encountered during the process of sourcing materials or coordinating with other teams, including delays in material delivery, miscommunication between teams, or any other issues that impacted the smooth flow of work. By highlighting these difficulties, potential clients can gain a better understanding of the complexities involved in this project that you effectively handled. ● Project contraints: Elaborate on the specific constraints that impacted the project, highlighting the challenges and considerations involved in incorporating them seamlessly.

Step 4: Showcase your solutions This section of your website portfolio serves as a showcase for your exceptional problem-solving abilities. It is the perfect opportunity to captivate your audience with your boundless creativity, unwavering resourcefulness, and meticulous attention to detail through a collection of your most accomplished projects. ● Innovative use of space: Describe how you creatively utilized space by implementing innovative layouts and storage solutions. ● Unique design applications: Highlight your distinctive interior design interventions that set your project apart. Display your technical drawings, graphic designs, and mood boards to demonstrate your creative process. ● Enhanced functionality: Elaborate on how your interior design solutions improved the practicality and user experience of the space. ● Problem-solving skills: Demonstrate your ability to overcome challenges by explaining how you successfully addressed any issues that arose during the project.

Step 5: Demonstrate the results It’s the grand finale of your case study, where you have the opportunity to showcase the incredible transformation you have achieved. Engage your audience by presenting persuasive proof of the project’s success. ● Captivating before and after photos: Utilize stunning, high-quality images to demonstrate the remarkable transformations. ● Glowing testimonials: Showcase heartfelt testimonials from your clients, highlighting the profound positive influence your designs have had on their lives. These testimonials serve as powerful endorsements, further establishing your credibility and expertise in the field.

Top Tips for Optimizing Your Website Portfolio for Maximum Impact

Now that you understand the interior design portfolio case study format to follow through our step-by-step guide above, finesse it even more by following our top tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your website portfolio. ● Start early: Begin writing case studies as early as possible, ideally at the start of the project. This helps avoid rushed content and launch delays. ● Choose your best projects: Be picky when choosing projects for case studies. Prioritize showcasing your best work over having a large quantity of case studies. ● Be concise & informative: Keep your write-ups brief. Ensure even quick scans of your work, including captions, offer insight into your project. ● Give credit: Always acknowledge team contributions and clearly define your role in the project. Transparency can be key to establishing trust. ● Authenticity matters: Write in your own voice, avoiding industry jargon or buzzwords. Showcase your personality and design process clearly. ● Avoid image overload: Simply presenting images without context is ineffective. Pair visuals with descriptive text to offer insight into your process. ● Consider layout: Treat each case study like a magazine feature. Ensure your web designer creates a layout that will enhance the content and not disrupt the reading experience.

Improving Your Website Portfolio Performance Through Marketing and Sales

Project case studies are not just proof of your work but can be leveraged as potent marketing tools. Once you’ve created your case study, you’ll want to integrate it into your marketing and sales strategies. You can: ● Add it to your website: This allows all site visitors to see the quality of your work. ● Email it to your list: This can drive traffic to your website and generate interest. ● Post it on social media: Sharing your case studies on social media can also drive traffic to your website and expand your reach. ● Use it in your sales presentations: When pitching to a new client, a well-prepared case study can help showcase your skills and past success.

Case studies breathe life into your portfolio, transforming it from a gallery into a vivid narrative of your design journey. They not only showcase your talent but also your professionalism, problem-solving skills, and commitment to client satisfaction. So, start documenting your design process today and leverage the power of case studies to generate leads, attract ideal clients and close sales.

At Home Designer Marketing, we offer interior designers a free brand, website, and SEO audit to get clarity on what needs to change in order for your business to compete online.

—By Debra Scarpa, owner and designer, Home Designer Marketing

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design journey case study

How to write the perfect web design case study to win more clients

An immersive digital portfolio is the key to landing new clients. Learn how to show off your skills with a winning web design case study.

design journey case study

Design and build a custom portfolio website, visually, within 21 days.

design journey case study

A design portfolio without case studies is like a movie with no dialogue — visually present but lacking the substance needed to convey its full meaning.

Dialogue and case studies both communicate meaning. Without dialogue, audiences struggle to understand a film’s plot, characters, and themes, similar to how clients will struggle to understand the problem you solved, your design process, and the impact of your work without a thorough case study.

When you’re competing against other designers for a project or role, a well-written web design case study sets your portfolio apart , showing potential clients what you’ve done and what you’re capable of.

What is a case study?

A case study is an in-depth investigation into a person or group of people, a situation, event, or a product. A web design case study is a visual and textual analysis of a successful web platform, landing page , website design, or other web-based product. These types of case studies can be physical documents, but they’re often digital: PDFs, infographics, blog posts, or videos. Screenshots are an essential component, as are wireframes and mockups. But a robust web design case study also features detailed written explanations.

These visual and written elements work together to create a comprehensive assessment of the design process from start to finish, including the challenges faced, the solutions implemented, and the results achieved.

5 benefits of web design case studies

Now that we’ve touched on how case studies sell prospective clients on your work, here are a few other benefits of adding web design case studies to your portfolio website:

1. Demonstrate expertise

Case studies are a powerful marketing tool for designers to demonstrate their capabilities to potential clients or employers. A good web design case study showcases your skills and expertise in solving complex design problems.

2. Build credibility

In case studies, designers often include the name of the business, client, or project they’ve worked on, building credibility by providing real-world examples of their past work. You can even add testimonials and reviews to highlight positive feedback directly from those you’ve worked with.

3. Inspire future projects

Examining and analyzing your own work can inspire your next website build — maybe you’ll try one of the layouts that was nixed for this project or center the next design around an element you ended up loving. It also provides guidance and best practices for design projects, setting the bar for innovative design.

4. Encourage personal growth

Writing an investigation of your own design portfolio pieces after completing a project provides an excellent avenue for self-reflection. Reflecting on past projects, the struggles you’ve faced working on them, and what you’ve learned from the process will help you identify your strengths as a designer and areas of improvement to work on.

5. Improve communication

Presentations of your own work don’t just communicate the design process, decisions, and outcomes to clients. They also speak to stakeholders, including clients, team members, and management. A well-written case study illustrates a designer’s ability to effectively communicate complex design ideas and concepts, and writing it will improve your communication skills and offer insight into how effectively you work and collaborate with others.

What makes an effective web design case study?

A web design case study describes the process you took to solve a challenge with a particular web design project. A successful case study features a notable client project, a well-written narrative structure, and an engaging visual design.

Think of it as a story with an identifiable beginning, middle, and end. Throughout the story, show clients your approach to successful web design — the problem, the research you did to prepare for the project, the steps and iterations you completed throughout the process, and the final results you delivered. This narrative structure helps clients understand the project’s evolution and details your design process, making it key to an effective case study.

Case study curation and criteria

We’ve covered the basics of what a good case study looks like. But how do you determine which projects to include? If a project meets all the following criteria, it’s a good candidate for a detailed case study.

Is it relevant to the future projects you hope to explore?

If there’s a type of project you’ve completed in the past that you’d like to avoid in the future, that particular portfolio piece might not be a great option for a case study. You’re not just trying to sell yourself to clients — you’re trying to land jobs you actually want to do.

Does it have a defined initial problem?

Web design projects often arise as a result of a problem. These projects are perfect for case studies because the product design goes beyond appearance and functionality. Here are some of the issues your designs might solve:

  • Poor user experience: To create a smooth, enjoyable experience for users, user experience (UX) design focuses on identifying and solving issues that cause frustration, confusion, or difficulty while using an app or a website, such as confusing navigation, misleading icons, or slow load times. Addressing these challenges lets you showcase your understanding of your target audience’s needs and demonstrates your ability to apply your creative and technical skills to solve them.
  • Low search engine ranking: Redesigning a website with search engine optimization (SEO) in mind will improve its ranking in the search engine results pages, and you’ll have metrics to include in your case study to quantify the claims you’re making.
  • Inconsistent branding: Brand design is a massive part of a company’s identity. A lack of alignment between the logo, colors , and other visual elements of a brand’s identity and its digital assets reflects negatively on the company, leaving customers with more questions than answers about who’s behind the brand. Good web design can bring a sense of cohesion to the company’s digital products, an achievement you can speak to in your case studies.

Does the outcome deliver measurable success?

Good design is subjective, but the best projects for case studies have data to show how successful they are. Search engine ranking is one example. You might also highlight impressive metrics for user engagement (bounce rate, time spent on the site), conversion rate (the percentage of visitors who make a purchase or fill out a form), or web traffic (the number of visitors to the website).

Is the project visually suitable for presentation?

When preparing a web design case study, consider the various formats it can be presented in, such as a video, static webpages, or interactive web content.

Selecting projects that fit your chosen presentation format is essential to showcasing your web design skills. As a web designer, it’s a given that whatever you’re presenting to potential clients needs to use thoughtful, aesthetically pleasing designs.

Design for display

There’s no single right way to present a case study. What’s most important is that your case study tells the story of the journey from an initial problem or idea to a finished product that meets the client’s needs.

A minimalist design will help you achieve this goal. But don’t confuse minimalist with boring. You can (and should) get clever with the presentation. Instead of using basic screenshots, for example, consider exhibiting your work in modern frames with immersive features. Or display screenshots of the product in its natural habitat. Webflow designer Karen Huang uses a digital screen in this user experience case study to feature a screenshot of the user interface (UI) on a smartphone screen just as users would experience it:

Mockup of a laundry app in a smartphone-inspired frame.

Build completely custom, production-ready websites — or ultra-high-fidelity prototypes — without writing a line of code. Only with Webflow.

How do you structure a case study?

The contents of every web design case study will vary, but they should all follow this basic structure:

1. A challenge

Webpage presenting client information, statistics, calls to action, and a screenshot of the company’s website.

Start your case study with an introduction to your client and the problem your design solved. Include details about the project’s context, goals, and constraints. This section sets the stage for the rest of the case study and ensures the readers clearly understand what the project — and your solution — is all about.

2. A solution

Webpage featuring four mockups of different sections of a website.

Detail your approach to solving the challenge introduced in the previous section. Include information about your research, its methodology, and the data you gathered to develop your solution. Focus on your skills, not diagnostics — this is the place to showcase your intelligent approach, reasoning, and innovative ideas that ultimately resolve the challenge.

For this section, it’s helpful to break each key resolution into separate paragraphs and introduce images in chronological order to detail your design process. Screenshots of wireframes and strategy phases will paint a vivid picture of the project’s journey.

If you face any challenges or roadblocks while designing your solution, discussing them provides insight into your problem-solving skills and shows potential clients how you overcome difficulties. End this section with multiple pictures of the final product, and be sure to include a direct link to the project for potential clients and employers to peruse.

3. The impact

Alt text: Webpage featuring project impact metrics and a photograph of two women laughing.

This section is where you’ll highlight metrics and data that back up the project’s success. Leverage metrics, user feedback, or whatever data is available to illustrate how your solution solved your client’s challenges and achieved the project’s goals. You can also include information about the potential longitudinal impact of your work and future opportunities for the project.

4. Key quotes

Webpage featuring a client pull quote and two photographs of product prototypes.

A case study is a perfect place to share client testimonials and add quotes from team members to help readers learn what the experts behind the project think about the build. Get creative but use quotes sparingly, sprinkling them throughout the case study to support the image or project stage the quote relates to.

Let your work do the talking

At Webflow , we offer the tools to make websites and the tutorials you need to perfect them. Learn how to start a web design business , make an online portfolio , or enhance your skills with a web design certificate with guidance from our blog and educational platform, Webflow University . Draw inspiration from our collection of templates and websites and start building your best site yet with Webflow.

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design journey case study

How to Influence B2B Buying Journey [Case Study + Best Practices]

Most of the advice you see round about B2B buying journey, is repackaged and recycled. The concept of a buying funnel is 125 years old. The first reference of "create demand" was in 1907. Let's look at B2B buying journey in detail.

b2b buying journey by gartner

Table of Content

If you’re trying to get in front of buyers for the first time when they are ready to buy, you’re too late. Sales efforts will fail unless a company truly understands what buyers value, how they gather information, and how purchase decisions are made.

In 2024, people ask communities for reference, b2b buying journey

Unless a company truly understands what buyers value, how they gather information, and how purchase decisions really get made, sales efforts will fall short.

buyer journey diagram

According to a survey by Bain, 80%–90% of the b2b buyers, depending on what they are buying, have a set of vendors in mind before they do any research. Just as important, 90% of them will ultimately choose a vendor from the day one list.

Now this is very important metric in the b2b buying journey to keep in mind for any b2b company

In 2023 buyers are as knowledgeable about the technology or product as the salesperson. Sales then become more of a facilitator role, focusing on commercial terms, delivery/implementation schedules, and support/services. If I, as a buyer, know what I want, why do I need a salesperson to hold my hand all the way along my buyer journey?

The days of marketing and sales controlling the buyer’s journey are long gone — but that’s something of an open secret in the B2B industry. In the era of self-service and anonymous buying journeys that rely on peer recommendations and social media insights , marketers must stay on their toes to increase their brand’s agility and relevance of responses. A critical component of this modern buyer’s journey is the continued rise of buying groups and committees, which include several members across all departments in a business. To optimize customer engagement, successful organizations shift their focus from journeys to the collective buying tasks that buying teams need to complete.

Respondents to Demand Gen Report’s “2022 B2B Buyer Behavior Survey” indicated that the average buying group (buying committee) consists of:

  • One to three members (41%);
  • Four to six members (36%);
  • Ten or more (14%);
  • Seven to nine (10%)

It’s clear that buyers want a vendor who can speak in a highly targeted, relevant way to their specific market. The research shows that the traditional idea of nurturing a brand and providing buyers with a guided journey is a thing of the past — instead of tracking buyers’ actions and delivering relevant content, the modern buyer has flipped the script with self-service demands. After a buying group (Buying committee)has decided they want a specific solution and has a list of their potential vendors, they’re demanding specific information — putting the onus on B2B marketers to increase their agility to stay relevant.

As B2B buying increasingly moves online , both the substance and the scope of seller behavior will have to adapt in order to stay relevant, focusing increasingly on Sense Making and Change Enablement. Meanwhile, sales leaders will have to substantially rethink their role. Too many sales leaders today perceive themselves to be the leader of sellers rather than the leaders of selling. Undoubtedly, customers are migrating decisively from in-person channels to digital alternatives. Sales leaders must not cede their deep expertise in sales effectiveness to functions more classically owning these digital channels.

B2b websites and new digital channels must be purpose-built to drive sales performance and vendor selection, justified by a simple truth: customers learn and buy digitally. Understanding specific needs and providing a specific solution itself has become a marketing tactic, which is used by marketing teams.

Ultimately, sales is about selling thought leadership and b2b customer journey is not a straight line. B2b business and b2b markets, when it comes to decision stage, potential buyers looks for business needs and thought leadership. Irrespective of whether the role of human involvement in sales decreases overtime, selling must still happen one way or another; the channel (human versus digital) is merely the means, not the end. No question, the future of sales is different. Change is coming to the function — change in which heads of sales are takers, not makers. But that doesn’t mean leaders can’t adapt in response, and the best ones have already begun.

Buyers want to progress through some obstacle. And they have more options to make this progress. Marketing and sales succeed when they understand the specific progress buyers want to make, and why these challenges exist in the first place.

Get insights on your customers, ideal customer profile. B2b business and b2b marketers should find out what they want, their journey and their expectations. Then comes messaging, including website messaging and tactics.

Better understanding of potential solution, customer support, case studies will help b2b business to design for the purchasing process starting from awareness stage. Sales teams and sales reps should really understand buyer personas, customer journey mapping, sales cycles or buying cycles, buyer journey stages, target audience, email marketing, marketing tactic, marketing strategy and customer research. They should have better understanding on which potential customers and are in awareness stage.

B2B Marketing in 2024

B2B marketing is now about having a better understanding of potential solutions and showcasing expertise and building trust before the first call with sales reps. Your promise to your customers is a critical part of your brand identity . In turn, this sets in a customer's mind the value of your brand.

While brand marketers are trying to make people feel something at the top, and the performance marketers are trying to get people to act at the bottom, their customers are in the middle, trying desperately to understand; unmoved by the brand unless they understand the value and unmotivated by performance unless they understand the brand.

Here are three things to consider:

  • ‍ Be interesting. Creativity matters. If the context is right, the concept is fresh, and its craft is beautiful, people will pay attention. ‍
  • Make value clear. Once you’ve got people’s attention, don’t waste their time with tired tropes and bloated metaphors. Help them understand why they should choose you. You can entertain and demonstrate at the same time. ‍
  • Justify the decision. Post-decision, don’t give people a reason to loop back and agonize over yet another sprawling consideration set. Romance the hell out of the product. Contextualize it so it makes perfect sense. Make them feel great about what they’ve put in their cart.

Additional Reading: The B2B Marketing Puzzle: Rethinking SMART Goals with Jade Tambini

B2B buying increasingly moves online

In the podcast 20 sales, Kevin Egan the Global Head of Enterprise Sales at Atlassian says "85% of Slack's enterprise customers (customers with over 1,000 seats) started in self-service." This is a very important statistics in terms of how B2B buying is changing.

Here is an interesting video by Kale.

Facts about the customer journey in B2B:

  • It's not linear and simple. It's a complex, multidimensional mess.
  • There's no such thing as impulse buy - unless you have a $49.99 price tag.
  • No single channel can be fully responsible for the conversion.
  • And yet, that is what most attribution software suggests.
  • No single team can be fully responsible for the conversion.
  • 95% of B2B buyers are not in the buying mode.
  • 5% of buyers who ARE ready to buy usually choose one of the few vendors they're most familiar with.
  • Word of mouth, referrals/recommendations from friends, colleagues and community are the biggest driver of conversions.
  • To understand your customer journey, use software attribution (HockeyStack (YC S23) reveals the most touch points on it), self-reported attribution, and talk to your customers.

Source: Ognjen, Demand Lead at Honey Stack

How website design is changing with the shift in B2B buying journey?

We are living through a fundamental shift in B2B SaaS marketing. Influencers and creators, a group many executives thought limited to B2C Instagram, are now adding millions in revenue to SaaS companies. Communities and word of mouth is playing a huge role in B2B buying journey.

In a B2B prospect's journey, your website homepage is just the tip of the iceberg.

The only real questions you need to answer on the website, to get a prospect to book a meeting are:

✅ What is this product?

✅ Is it meant for me?

✅ When would I use it?

You're just trying to get them to understand what you do!

Pricing page of a B2B website

Your pricing page is the 2nd most important page on your b2b website. Some SaaS companies are moving aways from transparent pricing on the website and its a bad idea.

Notion — Their transparent pricing strategy enables them to dial in their product messaging to align on the perceived value of their target customers.

While there is no silver bullet...

🤑 Showing your prices turns your value messages into value propositions.

And when this proposed trade is clear...

🧩 It is much easier to solve for your ideal pricing strategy.

pricing strategy of b2b product

Many prospects use it as a go-to resource for learning about a product and deciding whether to try it. In my experience, an optimized pricing page can lead to increases in signups even as you raise prices.

Show “product capabilities” rather than “benefits” (since there is so much ambiguity around “benefits” as it relates to talking about ROI, business cases, outcomes, etc.). So rather than a feature list, you’d share the capabilities (i.e. what people can DO with those features) - “tell a story about what the customer can do with the feature”

How to Build Your Business Case In Sales? Tell a before-and-after customer story.

How we used before and after customer story in B2B website design?

design journey case study

Webflow uses before after customer stories to improve buyer's journey

Before and after customer story of Shift - Website strategy for better customer conversion

Product Positioning is everything

First check, which personas are your buying champions 🤔

Even when you sell to a “buying team” you have just ONE buying champion.

This person has a ‘personal interest’ in buying your solution.

Everyone else is just a stakeholder, with veto powers.

(Ingeniously pointed out by April Dunford in her positioning podcast.)

👉 Veto power holders have “no personal interest” in buying your solution.

👉 They never speak to your sales like their life depends on it.

👉 They never visit your website.

👉 They simply pose objections to your buying champion.

👉 They block the purchase if they feel your product can make their life difficult.

🙎‍♂️ Users can veto it….if they feel adopting it will be a pain.

👨‍💼 Budget holders can veto it…if they feel the cost is difficult to justify.

🙎‍♀️ IT can veto it…if security and integration seem to be a challenge.

👩‍💼 Procurement can veto it…if they get competitive quotes from others.

👨‍⚖️ Legal can veto it….if they feel there is a compliance risk.

Hence, your website messaging must focus on convincing the CHAMPION. And arming them to get a YES from various stakeholders ✅

B2B Marketing Consultant Jade's observation about the shift in B2B Buying Journey is very interesti

~ 27% of B2B buyers would spend up to $500k through a hybrid sales model or digital self-service.

~ 73% of B2B buyers would spend up to $50k.

Also according to McKinsey: hybrid selling is expected to be the dominant sales strategy by 2024. (But how we interpret that is far more than just switching in person sales meetings for Zoom). B2B buyers are increasingly comfortable with digital and online channels.

They use up to ten channels for purchases, double the number from five years ago. Buyers now prefer these channels because they offer fast and easy access to information and subject-matter experts.

b2b product recommendation request on social media

They no longer want to wait for in-person meetings and can engage with experts more frequently. Even in 2021, over two-thirds of B2B buyers opted for remote human interactions or digital self-service throughout the sales process. The “digital self service” is a very important point that highlights the idea “I don’t want to speak to a person unless or until I ABSOLUTELY HAVE to! ”

These shifts in buyer behavior require organisations to rethink their sales models.Moving from in-person to Zoom meetings was a significant change, but there is much more to be done. In the hybrid, increasingly competitive world of sales, those B2B organizations that act proactively to get the right talent in the right roles will lead the way in revenue growth. Customer satisfaction of current customers is playing a huge role customer loyalty and modern b2b buyer is keeping it as a a vendor selection criteria or buying decisions are made at awareness stage itself sometimes.

CEO of Revenue Hero jumping into a LinkedIn Conversation

B2B Buyers now want self-service options

And they only want to speak to reps when necessary, not for everything. Meaning competitors who provide information digitally are more likely to make a sale than those who don’t. “But relationships are the foundation of B2B”.

Trust, not relationships, drives sales. In the past you could only get trust built on a 1:1 basis because there was no other option. But today, the options exist and buyers want to be served online.

Building trust through mass consulting, like watching explainer videos from subject matter experts and making sure that for all pain points that exist there are answers online easily found, can be as effective as conversations. To meet buyer expectations now and into the future, sellers must offer in-person, remote, and digital self-serve interactions. Understanding buyer needs and developing digital experience models are crucial. Most only offer the first two - which pretty much means “if you want expert information you’re going to have to speak to us”.

But with 64% of B2B buying groups (buying committee) comprising Millennials and Gen Z, who prefer digital channels, this trend will only accelerate.Gen X leaders will have to make the necessary shift, or we may need to wait for Millennials at the top for change to come about.

Source: Jade's LinkedIn post

Customers are asking product alternative recommendation on social media

What are the changes in Marketing Approach to adapt to the new B2B buyer journey?

Conventional wisdom tells marketers to lead with benefits over features.

For instance, if you're Loom you would say, "reduce time spent in meetings by 50%" rather than, "record yourself and your screen to share videos with teammates asynchronously." - Austin

But lately, marketers like Anthony Pierri 🎸 have been challenging this.

A recent survey on digital transformation in manufacturing (a field flooded with SaaS products, and therefore, marketing), seems to back up the need to lead with FEATURES.

Executives in this survey didn't want to know how digital transformation will affect business growth. Why? They probably already know that. Or at least, they're sufficiently sold on the concept. Therefore, leading with ROI might not be the right move. Plus, it's undifferentiated. Instead, these executives want to know WHAT technologies they need and HOW to use them. To communicate this, you'll need to talk about FEATURES.

This isn't to say there's no place for benefits. It's not either/or, but it is a question of what's most important.

Leading with benefits and ROI does three negative things:

  • makes you look like everyone else
  • hides the differentiating parts of your product
  • makes you seem less believable

design journey case study

1. Calendaring tools replace demo request forms

Any demo request/talk to sales will move to calendaring tools that eliminate friction and allow the prospect to schedule time without engaging with a BDR first

2. Ungate the content, please

I am convinced there is no piece of content you can generate that isn't more valuable in this environment ungated. Get as many eyeballs on your content as possible, eliminate friction, and provide a better experience with your brand. Content marketing is how you can be in front of a customer who is searching for an answer online.

3. Intent & web de-anonymizers eliminate need for Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) content forms

Leverage intent tools and website deanonymizers to identify accounts in market and stop your over reliance on BOFU form submissions. Ungate those Gartner MQs everyone!

4. Social sign-in capabilities eliminate need for dedicated landing pages & forms

Capabilities like "sign up with google" negate the need for traditional forms in front of even personalized demo environments. Social tools like LinkedIn's "complete with LinkedIn" eliminate the need to link out to your dedicated landing page with your high friction form on it. Try to find the efficiencies for your users and leverage them.

5. Customer experience & trust

Customers are becoming more and more sensitive to data privacy. They know what you're going to do with their email address & phone number and forcing them to give it to you starts the relationship off on a bad foot. Build trust and familiarity with your brand as one that is genuinely trying to help solve their problem by making your valuable content available freely.

6. Marketing attribution has changed

If you're a B2B marketer and you haven't begun educating and influencing your leadership & board that attribution and the role of marketing is changing, you need to. Follow thought leaders like Chris Walker and Dave Gerhardt who give away tons of great insights on how the role of B2B marketing has changed and how old-school attribution is incentivizing the wrong behaviors, focusing marketers on tracking every engagement instead of creating demand for your service and preference for your brand.

What are the benchmarks companies should consider while studying B2B buyer journey?

- Customer journey length

- Company size vs. speed of the deal

- Company location impact on the customer journey

- Amount of stakeholders involved in B2B deals

- How much does a first touch impact customer journeys?

- How much of the customer journey goes without the seller?

- How does tracking data influence revenue reporting? 

- How many touches does the B2B buyer make before purchasing?

Source: Dreamdata

How product messaging and website messaging can help in this new B2B buying journey?

Improving your messaging can increase your cashflow by at least 66% and bring in an additional $2,000,000 on a $10k ACV product.

What impact can improved messaging have on your cashflow and pipeline?

Plenty, says Andrew Hatfield from Deepstar Strategic

Your revenue and speed of growth is heavily influenced by

- Win Rate %

- Number of Qualified Opportunities

- Sales Cycle Length

- Average Contract Value

Obviously the number of qualified opportunities is a huge factor your results. That is most impacted by your Demand Creation efforts. But what if we just looked at your Win Rate % and Sales Cycle Length. For a SaaS product that has a $10,000 Annual Contract Value, if you could improve your messaging the impact is going to be substantial.

Take this fairly standard example of an average performing SaaS vendor; A SaaS company wins 15% of their qualified opportunities. Their time to sale is 90 days - again fairly standard for a $10K ACV product.

With improved messaging, it is easy to increase your win rate from 15% to 25% and reduce your sales cycle length from 90 days to 60 days. The impact on your cashflow and pipeline velocity, the amount of money moving through your pipeline, is huge. You can deliver a 66% increase in revenue - an additional $2,000,000

That's before you even take into account the increase in qualified opportunities because your demand creation, capture, and conversion efforts perform better.

What else does this mean? Your sales productivity increases. Sales people are expensive - so you want them efficient and bringing in deals. Messaging is an underrated lever you can control to improve your business in the next 90 days.

Messaging needs to have clarity, distinctiveness, and relatability. The short answer is talk to your customers. The longer answer is translating the pain of their unmet needs to the outcomes you deliver in such a way that you capture their attention and connect at an emotional level.

Michelle Picoto pointed out that it’s also worth pointing out the difference between messaging and copy. Messaging is core to your business and buyers. Copy is the expression of your messaging in the channels that make sense for your business. Copy is not a one-and-done. You need to find the expression that moves the needle now, and keep tweaking it as things change for your buyers. The way you ensure that it keeps resonating with your buyers is, as Andrew mentioned, understanding your buyers constantly.

42-step example of a buyer journey, including 85% of steps NOT SHOWING in your analytics software

1. A marketer sees a friend’s comment on my LinkedIn post, reads it, and likes it

2. I send an invitation to connect, thanking him for the support

3. He accepts

4. I thank him for the connection, and mention our free Trenches –B2B marketing community

5. The marketer joins, but keeps lurking 

6. Occasionally, he shares posts on his company’s Slack channel 

7. Andrei announces a partner webinar with a MarTech vendor used by the marketer’s team


8. Marketer joins the webinar to learn about ABM (account-based marketing) 

9. After the webinar, I send him a video message and share a content hub with the slides, a couple of case studies and our ABM framework 

10. The marketer shares the content hub with his CMO

11. The CMO checks out our case study 

12. Based on content analytics, I connect to the CMO, and ask what she thought about it 

13. The CMO remembers the case study, but decides it’s not the right time and ignores my outreach 

14. She starts seeing our posts on her feed, but never engages


15. The CMO gets critical feedback about ROI, and ambitious KPIs for the next year 

16. She sees a post about our summit, and asks her marketer to join and collect ideas 

17. The marketer attends our session about full-funnel marketing 

18. He shares a screenshot of our framework with his CMO


19. After seeing our framework shared by her marketer (and seeing our content and brand several times in the past), the CMO decides to check out our website, and recognizes one of our clients 

20. She reaches out and gets a positive recommendation 

21. She asks the marketer to book a call with us

22. After the discovery call, I share the content hub with the proposal along with a few key pieces of buyer enablement content 

23. The marketer presents our proposal, but gets a critical question about ROI he doesn’t know how to answer 

24. He stops responding to our follow-up


25. Andrei engages with the CMO’s recent post, and follows up with a LinkedIn message, inviting her to our podcast. She agrees to join 

26. During the pre-production interview, he asks her about their challenges and priorities (to get the business context), and agrees with her on the topics to discuss during the main podcast interview.

27. After the main interview, Andrei reminds the CMO about how our proposal can help solve the challenges and help with priorities she shared in the pre-production interview. She shares her concerns and critical questions 

28. We agree that we’ll help the marketer work out the business case

29. With the marketer, we create the business case, share a relevant case study and references 

30. CMO asks the marketer to check two more references 

31. After positive reference checks, the CMO books a call, and asks a few more critical questions 

32. We agree to start with a simple, low-ticket alignment and planning sprint


33. During the sprint, we help drive internal consensus and alignment, and get the buy-in for a marketing plan to reach their new KPIs 

34. The CMO decides to hire us to guide the implementation, and gets an approval for the first quarter

35. The company starts landing accounts with 5X larger ACV than previous marketing-sourced deals 

36. We invite the CMO to speak in a “live case study” webinar 

37. We start conversations with a few attendees, and activate a stalled deal with a prospect

38. We turn the webinar into a detailed case study 

39. During the debriefing call, we collect insights about missing elements, and strategic priorities 

40. We prepare a proposal to support the team with their strategic initiatives

41. We share the proposal with the exec team, along with the case study, testimonials of their team members, comparing the performance with previous year’s results, and share the forecast of the larger program and how it will contribute to the company’s overall objectives 42. We work with the CMO until she gets an approval for the larger plan

Source: Step-by-Step Guide to Modern B2B Buyer Journey and How to Influence it With Full-Funnel Marketing

Is Inbound the best way of marketing in 2023?

A common trap = thinking inbound is the "BEST" way to do marketing. Purchase intent, also known as buyer intent, describes the extent to which customers are willing and inclined to buy a product or service from you within a certain period of time, typically over the next 6 or 12 months. Customer acquisition, decision criteria, purchasing behavior, buying committee, they are all getting complex.

5 reasons inbound is overrated:

1. Lots of terrible, terrible leads

How many times have you entered "123 fake st" or when filling out a lead form? I've done it and I know you have. But even when they're real, you'll get a ton of poor-fit leads. A drag on everyone's time.

2. It takes forever

Multiple quarters - best case. Sure, you can get some quick wins on the board. but it's a long game. If the biz needs marketing to produce impact ASAP, inbound is the wrong answer.

3. Out of your control

A personal example. I use an inbound strategy for my fractional practice. Some months I get 15+ DMs from founders. Some months I get 3. But I know people that outbound only (ie: zero inbound) -- they have 10 discovery calls every month, because they have a repeatable process.

4. Gets you obsessed with the wrong numbers

Because it takes forever, and is out of your control for a while, marketers can get stuck reporting on pageviews, impressions, email db size, etc. This is one of the reasons why marketing has an awful rep in most orgs.

5. Doesn't work for enterprise

Can inbound help here? Sure. But is outbound, or a named account approach faster and more effective approach? Almost always yes. Also, ICP matters. CTOs don't make buying decisions from reading a blog post, no matter how good it is.

6 Key Takeaways on B2B Buying Behaviors from Demand Gen Report

  • The length of the B2B purchase cycles increased compared with a year ago, with 20% saying it was a significant increase.
  • The majority of B2B buyers (59%) report that there are more than three stakeholders involved in their purchase process.
  • The top resources that inform 88% of buyers continue to be online web searches and vendor websites. These findings stress the importance of ranking in SERP, delivering a frictionless experience for website visitors, and continually improving your B2B website messaging.
  • There’s a good chance they may have already selected an ideal vendor without the vendor even realizing it, while outreaching or evaluating.
  • Pricing, reviews and features are the top three variables when evaluating solution providers
  • More than two-thirds (68%) cite “knowledge of our company and its needs” as the top reason for choosing a winning vendor over others. Not far behind is high-quality content that speaks to their pain points, demonstrates knowledge, and shows potential ROI.

Key findings from a Gartner report about B2B buying journey

  • Rapidly shifting buying dynamics, fuelled by digital buying behavior, is reshaping the strategic focus of sales organizations. Few sales organizations are responding with appropriate urgency.
  • Chief sales officers (CSOs) must engage in a fundamental mindset shift from leader of sellers to leaders of selling, embracing digital-first go-to-market.
  • Progressive sales organizations will rapidly innovate digital selling models, leveraging the associated analytics advantages to engage customers in a far more coordinated fashion through all routes to market.

Recommendations from a Gartner report to successfully navigate the evolution of B2B buying over the next five years

Heads of sales should:

  • Rapidly build digital sales experiences to support customer self-learning on the array of complex considerations associated with their products, services, and above all else, the customer’s change journey.
  • Shift organizational focus from sales professionals as the primary commercial channel toward digital sales channels to invest in developing rich and valuable customer decision support.
  • Accelerate beyond foundational analytics capabilities (such as, clean data, integrated data markets) toward AI-powered insights, fueled by customer engagement data to provide next best action and coordinated proactive actions to better retain and grow customer accounts.
  • Build ecosystems of support for customer Change Enablement, including guidance on key buying considerations, but also broader project/initiative guidance to help ensure decision complexity is minimized and customer decision confidence is maximized.
  • Embrace a Sense Making sales approach among sales professionals, positioning their unique value-add to help guide customers to decision confidence, minimizing uncertainty over competing perspectives and alternate actions.

Map who is on the buying team and the different sources of value for each

Customer segmentation is the process by which you divide your customers up based on common characteristics – such as demographics or behaviours, so your marketing team or sales team can reach out to those customers more effectively.

Bain has organized the 40 distinct kinds of value that B2B offerings provide customers into a pyramid with five levels. The most objective kinds of value are found at the base, and the higher a level is, the more subjective and personal the types of value it contains. It was important to know how to measure—and deliver—what business customers want.

Map who is on the buying team and the different sources of value for each.

How much does retention matter in the new B2B Buying Journey?

Did you know SaaS companies lose 55% of their users in the first week and 78% in 2 months? According to 2021 State of SaaSOps report , 42% of respondents said finding unused or underutilized SaaS app licenses was one of their most crucial challenges to solve. And indeed, 80% of respondents concede that some percentage of their SaaS spend is being wasted. So it is important to look into the onboarding, and it starts at the marketing stage.

Retention Marketing

‍ Retention marketing is about getting your customers to come back. Retention marketing focuses on bringing back your existing user base in order to create habitual users and repeat customers. The goal is to improve app engagement (session length and frequency) as well as business revenue (purchase frequency and average order value).

How much does building trust matter in the new B2B Buying Journey?

When your buyers don't know you, they don't trust you. And that means you have to work that much harder to build trust (too) late in the buying journey. Capturing those late stage or out-of-market buyers as leads is why so few convert.

There is trust, and identification, and that puts you right at the top of that shortlist. If you’re trying to get in front of buyers for the first time when they are ready to buy, you’re too late.

Bonus: it accelerates the buying journey astronomically.

Is strategy in B2B Dramatically different than in B2C?

B2B purchases are, on average, higher value than B2C purchases. B2B products can also be more customized or complex than B2C products.

Even though the payor is a business in B2B, you are almost always selling to a specific person or identifiable group of people in that business. And they need to be understood in ways that are similar to those in B2C. And, as Google discovered in 2015, the ‘approver’ isn’t always in the C-suite.

Simplified version of B2B buying stages

  • Stage 1: The Prospect Identifies a Challenge
  • Stage 2: The Prospect Begins Researching Options
  • Stage 3: Request for Proposal (RFPs) are Sent
  • Stage 4: The Prospect Selects a Vendor

However these four stages of b2b buying journey is not exactly how sales are happening in 2023. Many times brands are coming in front of the prospect even before they identify the challenge. So if you are getting in front of the customer at stage 2, you are already too late.

Different types of B2B purchase

Four factors impact the nature of the B2B buying journey:

  • The amount that will be spent on the product or service. The more a product or service costs, the more stakeholders will typically be involved in the buying journey. These stakeholders won’t necessarily be senior – that is driven by strategic importance (see below). Organizations also have higher expectations around levels of service and customization when buying high-priced products or services. For low-price products, there are fewer opportunities to differentiate. Vendors tend to differentiate through relationships, or by making the purchase as easy as possible for the buyer
  • The amount of differentiation between products, and the levels of product complexity. The greater the differentiation or complexity of a product, the more time an organization needs to dedicate to researching or comparing the different options on the market. More complexity also means that more specialists will be involved in the decision-making process. These specialists can be external to the buying organization, as the individuals within the organization cannot be expected to become experts in the more complex products
  • The strategic importance of the product or service to the buyer. For more strategically important purchases, organizations will involve more senior decision-makers and specialists in the buying journey. Consistency, reliability, and quality also factor into decisions far more
  • Whether the product is a first purchase or a re-purchase. If an organization is repeating a purchase and is likely to stay with the existing vendor, fewer people will be involved, and less time will be required

The summary of the B2B buyer journey and the principles for effective marketing highlight key aspects of customer behavior and decision-making processes in business-to-business transactions. Here's a breakdown:

  • Complex Buyer Journey : The path from initial brand exposure to the final purchase decision involves numerous marketing touches and a significant time lapse. This complexity is often oversimplified, and the real journey is even more nuanced, as you noted.
  • Marketing Touch Points : Multiple interactions with a brand over time contribute to brand recall and preference, emphasizing the importance of consistent and long-term marketing efforts.
  • Challenges in Attribution : The final purchase decision, often influenced by a long history of brand interactions, can be mistakenly attributed to the last marketing touchpoint, like a Google Ad, overlooking the cumulative effect of previous marketing efforts.
  • Sales Process Alignment : The role of sales representatives is crucial, especially in the final stages of the buyer journey. However, their contribution can be over or under-recognized based on the attribution models used.
  • Principles for B2B Marketing :
  • Targeting Active Buyers : Recognizing that only a small percentage of potential buyers are actively looking to purchase at any given time is crucial for effective targeting and resource allocation.
  • Brand Exposure : It's essential to reach out-of-market buyers to ensure your brand is top-of-mind when they enter the buying mode.
  • Narrow Consideration Set : Most buyers have a pre-selected list of vendors. The objective is to be part of this list to have a chance of being chosen.
  • Optimized Sales Response : When potential buyers are ready to engage, it's critical to provide prompt and expert responses, enhancing the chances of conversion.

Understanding these aspects and implementing strategies aligned with them can significantly improve marketing effectiveness in B2B contexts. These insights highlight the need for a sophisticated approach that acknowledges the complexity of the buyer journey and the nuances of buyer behavior.

How to create a B2B buyer persona?

Creating a B2B buyer persona is a crucial aspect of understanding your target market and tailoring your marketing strategies effectively. Here's a breakdown of what should be included in a B2B buyer persona:

  • Understanding Business Processes Supported by Your Solution : Identify the specific business processes that your product or service enhances or supports. This helps in understanding the context in which your solution is used and the value it offers.
  • Measurements of Success for the Process : Define what success looks like for these processes. This includes key performance indicators (KPIs), efficiency gains, cost savings, or other metrics that your solution impacts.
  • Stakeholders Involved in the Process : Identify all the key players involved in these processes. This can include end-users, decision-makers, influencers, and anyone else who might play a role in the buying process.
  • Challenges in the Process and Their Manifestation : Outline the common challenges or pain points encountered in these processes and understand why they occur. This helps in positioning your solution as a remedy to these specific issues.
  • Trigger for Change : Determine what circumstances or realizations lead your best-fit buyers to seek a change. Understanding this trigger point is crucial for timing your marketing and sales efforts.
  • Previous Approaches to Solve Challenges : Investigate what other solutions or approaches your buyers have previously tried to address their challenges. This helps in understanding their mindset and preferences.
  • Evaluation of Potential Solutions : Understand how your buyers evaluate different solutions. This includes the criteria they use, the resources they refer to, and the decision-making process they follow.
  • Reasons Your Solution Was Chosen : Analyze why your solution was preferred over others. This could be due to features, price, customer service, brand reputation, or other factors that made your solution stand out.

Incorporating these elements into a B2B buyer persona can provide a comprehensive understanding of your target audience. This detailed persona can guide product development, marketing strategies, sales approaches, and customer service practices to ensure they are all aligned with the needs and preferences of your target buyers.

High-investment products like SaaS solutions: the non-linear and complex nature of the customer journey

Here are some key points to note:

  • Non-Linear Buyer Journey : The traditional sales funnel model (TOFU - Top Of the Funnel, MOFU - Middle Of the Funnel, BOFU - Bottom Of the Funnel) is often not linear in reality. Prospects might engage with different stages in a non-sequential manner, reflecting the unpredictable nature of their decision-making process.
  • Challenges with Standard Funnels : Relying on a rigid, "cookie-cutter" sales funnel, especially for high-value products, is often ineffective. High investment decisions involve a more intricate and varied set of considerations and touchpoints.
  • Customized Approach : The buying journey for expensive B2B SaaS products can't be neatly packaged into a fixed number of interactions. Expecting prospects to follow a predetermined, chronological path is unrealistic and may lead to missed sales opportunities.
  • Importance of Contextual Information : Providing relevant and comprehensive information at every potential decision point is crucial. This means creating content that addresses the specific needs and concerns of the buyer at different stages of their journey.
  • Adaptable Marketing Strategies : Successful marketing in this context requires flexibility and adaptability. It involves recognizing that each prospect might have a unique path to purchase, and the marketing strategy should be versatile enough to accommodate these variations.
  • Focus on the Customer’s Needs : The key is to focus on what the customer needs to make an informed decision, rather than trying to fit the customer’s journey into a pre-defined marketing model. This involves understanding their context, challenges, and questions at each stage.
  • Comprehensive Support and Information : Ensuring that all potential obstacles in the decision-making process are addressed with appropriate content and support can significantly enhance the chances of conversion.

In essence, the path to purchase in high-value (B2B) Business-to-business transactions is complex and requires a nuanced approach. Understanding the unique journey of each prospect and providing them with the necessary information and support at every stage is crucial for successful conversions.

B2B lead generation and marketing strategies

The landscape of digital marketing, especially in the B2B sector, has evolved dramatically, necessitating a more nuanced, integrated, and strategic approach. Let's delve into the key points you've made and explore solutions:

1. The Complexity of the Buying Journey

  • Digital-First Decision Making: With a significant portion of the buying journey happening online, B2B buyers are more informed and independent in their research processes. This shift demands that marketers provide substantial value and information throughout the buyer's journey, well before direct sales engagement.
  • Reduced Sales Influence: Acknowledging that sales teams have less influence on the early stages of the buying journey shifts the focus towards nurturing leads through content, digital touchpoints, and value-driven interactions that build trust and authority.

2. Strategic Integration over Isolated Tactics

  • Beyond Ads: Simply running ads without a comprehensive strategy and adequate budget for testing and optimization is unlikely to yield significant results. Ads need to be part of a broader, multi-channel strategy that addresses the buyer's needs and pain points at different stages of their journey.
  • Holistic View: Successful lead generation is about more than just capturing data; it's about engaging potential leads in a meaningful way that builds trust and positions your brand as a preferred solution.

3. Messaging and Positioning

  • Value Proposition: Your messaging must clearly articulate how you solve specific problems and why your solution is the best option. This requires a deep understanding of your target audience's pain points, preferences, and decision-making criteria.
  • Content Marketing: Providing valuable content (guides, whitepapers, case studies) is crucial, but what happens post-download is equally important. Effective lead nurturing campaigns, educational content series, and personalized follow-ups can help transition a cold lead into a warm opportunity.

4. Long-term Approach to Lead Generation

  • Customer Journey Focus: Considering the entire customer journey means moving beyond immediate conversions to fostering long-term relationships. This approach builds a foundation of trust and can increase the likelihood of conversion over time.
  • Patience and Persistence: B2B sales cycles are typically long, and immediate results from marketing efforts may not be realistic. It's crucial to give strategies time to mature and to adjust based on feedback and performance data.

5. Adequate Budgeting for Effective Marketing

  • Investment in Growth: The underfunding of marketing efforts is a common issue in many B2B organizations. An appropriate marketing budget is critical for developing and executing strategies that can move the needle. The 4% to 8% of sales revenue guideline you mentioned is a good benchmark, though this can vary based on industry, business size, growth stage, and specific goals.
  • ROI Perspective: Viewing marketing as an investment rather than a cost can shift perspectives on budget allocation. With adequate funding, marketing can effectively support the entire sales process, contributing to long-term growth and profitability.

Addressing the challenges of modern B2B marketing and lead generation requires a strategic, integrated approach that goes beyond traditional advertising. It involves understanding and engaging with the buyer's journey, investing in comprehensive messaging and positioning, adopting a long-term perspective, and ensuring sufficient budget to support these efforts. By focusing on building relationships and providing value at each stage of the buyer's journey, B2B companies can create a sustainable pipeline of leads that are more likely to convert into loyal customers.

Additional Reading about B2B Buying Journey

  • The B2B buying process has changed, has your sales strategy?
  • Understanding and mapping the B2B buyer journey
  • Buyer Journey Mapping in B2B Markets
  • B2B Buying Journey: 5 Challenges & 5 Best Practices in 2023
  • Understanding the B2B Buying Process and How to Improve the Buyer Journey
  • Understanding The Changing B2B Buyer Journey
  • B2B Buyer Journey: What it is, Stages + How to Mapping it
  • The New Customer Journey: How to Reach B2B Buyers in 2023
  • B2B Buyer’s Journey: A Comprehensive Guide For Sellers
  • The B2B Customer Journey: Back to The Basics
  • The B2B Buyer Journey
  • B2B Buyer's Journey, 4 Stages to Know
  • The B2B Buying Process Explained: 9 Influencing Stages & Factors
  • 4 key factors influencing B2B buying behaviour
  • What Significant Shifts In B2B Buyer Behavior Means For 2023
  • Top 4 B2B Software Buyer Behavior Trends for 2023
  • What Influences B2B Buying Behavior
  • What matters most to decision-makers when making a SaaS purchase in 2022?
  • Understanding buying behaviour in SaaS

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  1. 15+ Case Study Examples, Design Tips & Templates

    design journey case study

  2. 15+ Case Study Examples, Design Tips & Templates

    design journey case study

  3. Product Design Case Study Template

    design journey case study

  4. The Design Journey

    design journey case study

  5. Design Thinking for Business Innovation McCombs MBA

    design journey case study

  6. Evaluating Best Buy’s website design

    design journey case study


  1. Episode 14: Career in Designing

  2. "My Signature Logo Design Journey"

  3. Page design Journey diary 🥰👍

  4. A Creative Design Journey with @kunaldesignwith


  1. If I Started Design in 2024, I'd Do This.

    Nirvana Lama · Follow Published in UX Planet · 5 min read · Jan 31, 2024 3 Back in 2016, I started my design journey with my first internship, almost eight years ago. As a Design enthusiast with over half a decade of experience in UI/UX Design, I have crafted websites, systems, and mobile applications across diverse platforms.

  2. Explore 10 Great Design Thinking Case studies

    Sienna Roberts 10 October 2023 Dive into the realm of Successful Design Thinking Case Studies to explore the power of this innovative problem-solving approach. Begin by understanding What is Design Thinking? and then embark on a journey through real-world success stories.

  3. Explore: Design Thinking Case Studies

    Design Thinking Case Studies demonstrate the value of the Design Thinking methodology. They show how this Design Thinking methodology helps creatively solve problems and improve the success rate of innovation and increase collaboration in corporations, education, social impact work and the public sector by focusing on the needs of humans.

  4. Redesigning Airbnb for the new normal

    A UX Case Study redesigning Airbnb for a more cohesive community experience post Covid19. Across the globe, once-bustling airports are hauntingly quiet. International borders are closing, and there is no doubt about it — Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the travel industry. With Airbnb amassing over 500 million guest arrivals, I was ...

  5. A Design Thinking Case Study

    Design Thinking is a methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solve problems. It focuses on understanding the user perspective, with a human-centered point of view. The power of this methodology is the possibility to test quickly if an idea, solution or enhancement can bring real results to our customers.

  6. How to Create a UX/UI Case Study: A Step-by-Step Guide

    In this article, we'll guide you through the process of creating an effective UX/UI case study that leaves a lasting impression. 1. Choose a Project. The first step in creating a compelling UX/UI case study is to select the right project. Choose a project that not only showcases your design skills but also aligns with your interests and passions.

  7. UX Case Studies

    What are UX Case Studies? UX case studies are examples of design work which designers include in their portfolio. To give recruiters vital insights, designers tell compelling stories in text and images to show how they handled problems. Such narratives showcase designers' skills and ways of thinking and maximize their appeal as potential hires.

  8. Case study: User journey mapping

    Case study: User journey mapping. Quenching the thirst of my access 125. ... Being a designer one must understand "People ignore design that ignores people" -Frank Chimero, It is Good Ux that will make your product usable, durable and efficient. Good Ux is all about making Technology user-friendly and accessible for every segment of the ...

  9. Case study: the journey of my first design thinking project

    The lab study for Participant A was held in a Group Study Room in school. The Group Study Room has a sofa, which is the closest and most appropriate environment that we can simulate to a home setting. For Participant B, it was conducted at home. Goals, Tasks, and Data To Be Collected. We set 5 goals and 8 tasks for the participants to complete.

  10. A Design Process for a Customer Journey Map: A Case Study on Mobile

    This study aimed to develop a design process and rule sets for a CJM based on a human factors approach. The 10-step process and the rule sets were built on case studies of 25 categories of mobile services.

  11. Five Successful Product Design Case Studies that Drive Business Growth

    Case Study 2: Tesla Inc. - Model S. Lessons to Learn from Telsa's Product Design Approach. Case Study 3: Airbnb - User Interface Redesign. Key Learnings from Airbnb's UI Design Transformation. Case Study 4: Slack - User Experience Enhancement. Noteworthy Insights from Slack's UX Design Journey.

  12. How to Write Design Case Studies That Win Clients

    Step 1: Write a description. A comprehensive description of your project is the cornerstone of every case study, painting a vivid picture of the process for prospective clients. This section's critical components are as intriguing as the opening chapters of a book, setting the stage for the transformative journey ahead.

  13. UI/UX Design + Case Study

    In this case study, you'll see how we went about crafting a warm welcome for a new user on Swiggy, into the world of hyperlocal… 10 min read · Sep 25, 2023 23

  14. Case study: My design process for a fitness app.

    Oct 7, 2021 The following is a UI/UX case study of the fitness app I designed as a part of my journey at the DesignBoat UI/UX school. Sehat — iOS app for fitness What is UX? User experience or UX is the intersection of user requirements, technology and business goals. What is UI?

  15. How to write the perfect web design case study to win more clients

    2. Build credibility. In case studies, designers often include the name of the business, client, or project they've worked on, building credibility by providing real-world examples of their past work. You can even add testimonials and reviews to highlight positive feedback directly from those you've worked with. 3.

  16. Website redesign for a Creative design agency: A UX case study

    Sep 1, 2021 Pulse illustration This article aims at documenting the website revamp process that was done as a part of the Jr. User experience designer role at Story Digital, New Delhi in Jan 2020. The Task The brief was to redesign the company's website such that it incorporates rebranding and enhances the overall experience of the site.

  17. How to influence B2B Buying Journey

    2. Social Media is playing a huge role in B2B buying journey. ~ 27% of B2B buyers would spend up to $500k through a hybrid sales model or digital self-service. ~ 73% of B2B buyers would spend up to $50k. Also according to McKinsey: hybrid selling is expected to be the dominant sales strategy by 2024.

  18. Case study: Design journey of WordPress plugin

    Case study: Design journey of WordPress plugin. SSL Zen — 30k+ Active Users, 500+ Five-star ratings, Free-to-paid conversion ratio from 4% to 10% and CLV to $485 ... UI/UX Case Study: Grab App Redesigned To Make Food Hunting Even Better. Grab App is a one-stop solution for Malaysians, simplifying city travel, grocery shopping, daily medical ...

  19. 15+ Case Study Templates

    Modern design deck template with multiple sections. Learn more. Visual portfolio template. ... Case study presentation template complete with project overview, wireframes and key journey insights. Learn more. Case study presentation layout for interview.

  20. Case Study Methodology of Qualitative Research: Key Attributes and

    Case Studies are a qualitative design in which the researcher explores in depth a program, event, activity, process, or one or more individuals. The case (s) are bound by time and activity, and researchers collect detailed information using a variety of data collection procedures over a sustained period of time.

  21. Case Study

    Overall, using Design Thinking to plan my wedding helped me approach the process in a more structured and thoughtful way. It allowed me to stay focused on the user experience and create a wedding that truly reflected our personalities and values. Alright, let's dive deeper and explore each phase of my wedding planning journey using Design ...

  22. A UX Case Study with AI. In the evolving world of UX design, AI…

    As a freelance UX designer, I've welcomed this change, and integrated various AI tools into my design process. In this article, I'll share my experiences with some of these innovative tools: ChatGPT, Miro AI, Figma AI, Adobe Firefly and Uizard and particularly focusing on their application in a case study.