ux is a science however design thinking is an art how do the two interelate? Trying to establish the difference between the two


3 Answers 3


Design thinking is not an art at all, it's just a methodology that uses a series of steps:

  • Empathize
  • Define
  • Ideate
  • Prototype
  • Test
  • Implement

enter image description here

These steps are related to each other and happens in cycles that can be complemented with other methodologies such as Agile, Sprint, Lean, etc, or simply use it as an unique framework. The final is just the starting point to re-start the process, as seen on the image above

Note: there are versions with 5,7 and even 4 steps, but they all are the same in the end

On the other hand, UX is NOT a science. Not at all. In any case, it's a holistic approach that uses many different scientific and non scientific methods, techniques and disciplines to achieve a purpose. However, the proper measurement of the results is always based on scientific methods.

There's an article by Francesca Simonds that touches some of the different approaches, from which this image comes

enter image description here

I don't agree with parts of the article, and certainly don't agree with the image above, but I think is good to have different views on a subject, so there you go.

In short

Thus, how does Design Thinking sit within UX? It's just a methodology like any other used in UX, a framework or approach to organize the whole UX process


Design Thinking is not exactly art. The goal of Design Thinking is to identify an innovative solution to a problem, which satisfies three fundamental criteria:

  • Appreciation (of the market or of the actors)
  • Feasibility
  • Profitability or economic sustainability

While UX is not one science, it is indeed experience.

Experience of use was founded to have a holistic approach to the way a person perceives and perceives himself while using a system. Attention focuses on value and pleasure in use rather than performance. An exact definition, the contexts and the constituent elements of the user experience are still evolving.



UX process consists of a phase where you need to meet design decisions (E.g. Home page menu has to be visible). The decisions are met upon the data and research you have gathered.

If you are talking about UI, then that comes at a later stage. Here we can start speaking about the design systems and developing atoms, molecules, organisms etc.

However UX is the user's overall experience when using your product and the design is visual problem solutions. I hope that helps.

  • Not eveything in UI is Atomic Design. As a amtter of fact, I doubt more than a few designers use Atomic Design
    – Devin
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 15:13
  • 1
    Absolutely not, but more than a few designers every day use design systems which is basically the same. Don't you think so? Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 15:39
  • yes of course, you're correct, but those you mention are specifically from Atomic Design (which IMHO is no other than Modular Design, only with Bradfrosty marketing)
    – Devin
    Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 16:28
  • I understand that people can get mistaken by that Commented Dec 11, 2017 at 16:44

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