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Identifying design problems

Designing is an art and for you to master this art, time and dedication is required. Even the best designers are no exception when it comes to design challenges. They are universal and recurrent, all that can be done is to brace the challenges head on.

The sole principle of User Experience is to try and solve the problems your users are facing. The whole concept might not be grandiose.  However, what makes it unique is its ability to identify problems and people are likely to accept your design more willingly.

 

Unfortunately there are far too many problems that designers could ever contemplate. The main question is what kind of problems are worth solving? Is the problem worth struggling and are people willing to pay extra for it? With this ideology, you are likely to be objective and proactive in approach. There is a detailed framework just to show you the ‘good’ problems and is arranged sequentially so that you don’t get lost during the process.

1. Peoples’ frustrations

The first indicator that there are problems is frustration. Not everyone knows how to express their problems but it can all be shown in their frustration. This frustration can be in various forms and the common ones include;

  • Constant complaints
  •  Reluctance in acceptance
  •  Asking others for recommendation and opinions
  •  It’s on their to do list

Frustration in most cases means that the issue in hand is not a problem as such as people are in denial that there is a problem. In order to solve this kind of problem, don’t try to persuade such people that there is indeed a problem which may lead to new frustrations. In most cases, people are frustrated and they don’t know why it is so.

If there was a way for people to express themselves without fear, then this kind of problems would not exist. You should do research; interview such people in order to understand them better.  A good way to do this is by use of the Five W’s technique for finding out the real problem. Once you have uncovered the real issue, solutions often present themselves.

2. People and problem solving

A major indicator of existence of  problems is frustration but this frustration can be caused by a lot of things, some of which are beyond our comprehension. No matter what is the magnitude of problems that human beings experience, they will always try to find solutions to them. Try and be patient as people will always take action. This is an indication that their problems have been prioritized.

Try and look for any behavior that shows that action is in progress. The behavior can be witnessed through the victims starting projects, a lot of research going on, software trailing. A lot of lip service is generated in the hope of solving problems, which should not be the case because they’re far too many problems to be solved. The only way you can acknowledge that people are addressing their design problems is through the action they take.

3. Is money being spent?

Taking action may not be enough when trying to address a problem. However, spending money is a strong indication that the problem is being addressed with the seriousness it deserves. Money can be spent on:

 Purchasing software

This is a strong indication that designers have taken matters into their own hands. They want to improve on what they have.

 Hiring of consultants

If the problem becomes tricky,  seek the help of second parties for assistance. When hiring a consultant, you should go for those who are at least familiar with the problem.

 Building yourself

This shows that the available tools are not enough to solve the problem at hand but worth investing in. It is also an indicator that you know the problems that need to be addressed first.

Prioritizing problems

This is a competency that UX designers are required to have. The people they do the designing for are prioritized, features to be built and page elements. Choosing the problems is not always an easy task, hence the need for improvements. Constant improvement in every aspect of life should be the goal of every human.

The same approach applies to designing. By focusing on whether people are frustrated, spending money and taking action, UX designers can ensure that problems can be and would be solved.

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