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The UX design ideation process: unlock your creativity for better designs

There are so many different approaches to ideation, and techniques adopted by UX designers differ. Explore the most popular ideation processes in UX design in this article.

23 January, 2023
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The design of user experience (UX) is a lot of work that often requires designers to combine market research, product development, strategy, and design to come up with the best interface, designs, functions, and usability for brands.

UI/UX design services look for that light bulb moment for their projects by thinking outside the box to suggest solutions to UX designers.

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What Is Ideation?

Ideation is a creative process that involves generating, developing, and communicating ideas. Ideation is a critical step in the creative process and is often used to solve problems, stimulate innovation, and drive progress. Ideation gives UX designers the license to let their minds run wild in search of the most creative solutions to existing problems.

This is also not usually a one-time session. Ideation involves a wide range of activities, including brainstorming, problem-solving, and concept development. During the ideation process, the UX designer or team generates several design ideas which are then filtered down to the best, most practical, or most innovative solutions.

As a core aspect of the creative process, ideation should be present in the everyday work of a UX designer. The process begins with idea generation, followed by the evaluation and selection of ideas, and is concluded with the refinement and development of the selected idea.

UX Design Ideation Process

There are many different approaches to ideation, and the methods and techniques adopted by a UX designer will often depend on the goals and needs of the individual or group involved.

Some of the most popular ideation processes in UX design are:

UX Design Ideation Process
UX Design Ideation Process


This technique is one of the oldest methods used by teams to generate as many ideas as possible, without evaluating or criticizing them. It is a combination of informal problem-solving and lateral thinking. Ideas are thrown about by team members with the hopes of identifying the most creative solution. It is also a common part of efficient UI design practices.


This process is similar to brainstorming. Rather than have participants throw ideas at each other during a meeting, they are written down. The ideas are then passed to other members of the team (often randomly) to read out loud as a way to reduce the anxiety of talking about unconventional ideas.


This technique involves identifying a specific problem or challenge and then generating ideas for potential solutions.


This process is a lateral thinking technique or an indirect approach to problem-solving where designers are encouraged to consider new realities regardless of how extreme they may appear. Most unconventional designs are a product of the provocation process.

User interviews and user research

Sometimes, the best way to come up with ideas is to talk with the users of the product. Talking to users and understanding their needs, goals, and behaviors can often provide valuable insights and ideas for UX design.

Sketching and prototyping

By sketching and building prototypes before production, designers are given a visual representation of the product which allows them to make creative adjustments. These prototypes are best kept simple and can help designers quickly explore and test different ideas and concepts.


This is another great technique used to bring the challenges of a UX design to life. The challenges are visually put on boards giving designers the room to explore the problem in-depth and come up with potential solutions. This is a great technique that can be adopted by a number of UX design specialties.

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The importance of ideation in UX design

Inspiration is an important part of the UX design process and can help spark new ideas and push the boundaries of what is possible. The ideation phase affords UX designers the time, space, and environment needed to think outside the box, coming up with as many solutions to a problem as possible.

The more time and resources dedicated to the ideation phase, the easier the prototyping and testing phases will be. This is because you will have already considered a wide range of potential problems and solutions before the product and service even makes it to users. Without ideation, a problem would merely remain a problem and a solution would never advance into production.

Want to have an efficient, business-oriented design?

View a recorded webinar with Pavel Tseluyko on how design adds value to your business.

Watch now

Closing thoughts

Great design is crucial for UX designers and is often rooted in the ideation process. Depending on how it is approached, ideation can be the most exciting phase of design. In this case, it significantly improves the outcome of the design and can be fun. To get the best results, it is important that the UX designers choose the ideation process that best suits the product in development.

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CEO and Founder of Merge

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

My mission is to help startups build software, experiment with new features, and bring their product vision to life.

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