How Can an Online Whiteboard Be Used for Virtual Design Thinking?

Key Takeaways

  • Design thinking is a problem-solving technique that focuses on understanding users’ needs and creating innovative solutions.

  • Virtual design thinking is an approach that uses online collaboration tools such as video conferencing and online whiteboards to help teams work together remotely.

  • Design thinking consists of five phases: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test.

  • Online whiteboards can be used for brainstorming, mind mapping, wireframing, prototyping, collaboration, and documentation during the design thinking process.

  • Tools available in online whiteboards include sticky notes, drawing tools, collaboration features, templates, and video conferencing capabilities.

  • Integrating online whiteboards with other tools and software can simplify the design thinking process even further.

  • Using an online whiteboard can help remote teams stay on the same page and streamline virtual design thinking sessions.


With the advancement of remote working and virtual collaboration, design thinking has become a paramount methodology for problem-solving. However, managing design thinking sessions virtually can be challenging without the right tools. This post aims to explain what design thinking is, and how an online whiteboard can help you enhance remote collaboration and creativity.

What is Virtual Design Thinking?

Design thinking is an iterative, non-linear technique that teams use to redefine problems by considering the user’s viewpoint. Unlike other problem-solving strategies focusing on technical factors, design thinking concentrates on the user’s wishes and needs primarily.

By looking at the problem through the user’s eyes, design thinkers try to design innovative solutions that can be prototyped, tested, and constantly enhanced. The final purpose of design thinking is to solve complicated issues from all parts of life.

Virtual design thinking is an approach to problem-solving and innovation adapted to a virtual/remote environment. It builds upon the principles of design thinking and uses different technologies such as video conferencing, collaboration tools, and online whiteboards to help teams cooperate remotely.

The Five Phases of Design Thinking

Every process of design thinking can be divided into five main phases: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test. Let’s review these phases one by one:

  1. Empathize: In the initial stage, we try to comprehend the users’ problems with empathy. This involves understanding their psychological/emotional wishes, needs, and goals.

  2. Define: Then, we define the user’s problems by assessing the information collected earlier. We specify and narrow down the issues users face and their pain points to create a user-centric problem definition.

  3. Ideate: In this stage, it’s time to be innovative and generate numerous ideas using mixed brainstorming techniques such as sticky notes, mind-mapping, and game-storming. You can use the voting and rating features of an online whiteboard in this stage to specify the most advantageous ideas to proceed to the next phases.

  4. Prototype: This phase is an experiment to turn desired ideas into tangible products. The iteration loop is important, where solutions are repeatedly adjusted and tested until the best approach is found.

  5. Test: Teams iterate their prototypes and redefine user needs according to the test results. The goal is to generate sufficient test results to begin planning how to convert the prototype into a product/service.

Using Online Whiteboards for Virtual Design Thinking

Whiteboards that are accessible online are a powerful tool for streamlining remote design thinking sessions. Here are some ways to apply virtual design thinking with an online whiteboard:

Brainstorming: Online whiteboards can be used for brainstorming, inspiring participants to contribute their ideas and write them on the board.

Mind Mapping
: Online whiteboards that use mind mapping create a visual representation of the problem domain that can aid in understanding the scope of the issue.

Using an online whiteboard to create a rough sketch of a potential solution can assist teams in picturing how that solution might operate.

: Online whiteboards can be used to prototype a solution, allowing you to see how it might operate in real life.

: During the design thinking process, remote team members can collaborate by using online whiteboards to stay on the same page.

Keeping track of ideas and decisions throughout the process is made easier with the aid of online whiteboards, which can also help you ensure that everyone is on the same page.

Online Whiteboards’ Tools to Use with Virtual Design Thinking

There are several tools that an online whiteboard offers to help with virtual design thinking, including:

  • Sticky Notes help you capture ideas and insights during a virtual design thinking session.

  • Drawing Tools such as pens, pencils, shapes, and lines, allow you to sketch ideas and concepts.

  • Collaboration Features allow multiple participants to work on the same canvas simultaneously.

  • Templates are pre-designed in online whiteboards to expedite the design thinking activities.

  • Integration of online whiteboards with other tools and software helps you streamline the design thinking process.

  • Video Conferencing capabilities let participants discuss ideas in real-time and get quick feedback from team members.

Final Words

With the help of online whiteboards, virtual design thinking sessions can be simplified and made more efficient. By using various tools such as mind mapping, wireframing, and collaboration features, online whiteboards can help remote teams stay on the same page throughout the design thinking process. Additionally, the integration of online whiteboards with other tools and video conferencing capabilities can simplify the process even further.