It’s normal to pull up sharp in front of a problem; after all, if there was a known solution, it wouldn’t be a problem. But knowing that it’s normal, doesn’t make encountering problems any less frustrating. So how do we avoid sitting in front of a UX problem for hours, achieving nothing?
That’s what creative problem solving is all about.
In this post, we’ll explore creative problem solving, and how it can help you as a UX designer. Then we’ll analyze how you can solve UX problems in a few, easy-to-remember steps. By the end of this article, you’ll have all the tips you need for UX problem-solving.
What is Creative Problem Solving?
Creative problem solving is a term developed by Alex Osborn, the founder of the Creative Education Foundation. In a nutshell, this term is about overcoming challenges in our work lives through innovative solutions. But, of course, such solutions vary by profession.
For UX designers, creative problem solving is about solving UX problems with efficient tactics, that work. And that’s precisely why UX problem solving is so essential because following a specific method can help us avoid getting stuck.
Whether you are a newbie or an experienced designer, you are probably focused on projects that require you to solve problems. If you have never had a problem before, you must be a superhero; for us mere mortals, here are the steps we need to follow to solve a UX problem:
UX Problem Solving in 5 Easy Steps
Delivering a great UX solution is influenced by two key parameters: user research and creative problem-solving. Suppose you have done your user research and are currently looking for an original solution to a problem. In this case, the methodology below will be handy:
1. Identify the UX Problem
I know this may sound obvious, but think about it. How many times have we lost days because we didn’t identify the real problem? If you are solving the wrong problem, it does not matter if your solution is original and innovative.
That’s why the first thing you need to do is think about the problem. Ask yourself what the real problem is, and then get to work solving it. Identifying the problem may take some time, but it will prove beneficial to your project in the long run.
2. Clarify the UX Problem
Now that you have identified the UX problem, it’s time to demystify it. In this step, you could create a user journey plan. It does not have to be perfect; some low-fidelity sketches are more than enough.
Set a timer and start visualizing your solution on paper. Remember, sketching is not about perfection or fine details. Once you have created a customer journey you are happy with, it’s time to move on to the next step.
3. Use Analytics
UX design isn’t about design per se. It’s also about numbers and data. This is why analytics are critical to UX problem-solving. Once you have gathered some data from users and competitors, it’s time to create patterns. This will help you better understand the problem and change your drafts accordingly.
Numbers and data alone can help you a lot if you combine them with an original idea. However, facts alone are not enough, and your original story will not be compelling without them. So what’s better than combining them?
4. Use Your Feedback
So you have come up with an innovative solution to the UX problem. You have successfully combined this idea with essential data. Unfortunately, your work is not yet done.
The next step is equally important. Once you have polished your ideas, you should share them with colleagues and/or customers.
It’s not easy to get feedback for your UX mapping, but it’s very constructive and will ultimately make you a better designer.
5. Solve the Problem
The last step is also the most fun. Once you have listened to people’s feedback, you can redesign your original solution. Then you are just one step away from solving the UX problem. Now it’s time to digitally redesign your idea.
This is the step where fine details matter. Creating a high-fidelity wireframe is not easy, but most UX designers have the knowledge and tools to get it done.
UX Problem Solving: Useful Tips and Tricks
In my opinion, this is the most useful tip when it comes to UX problem-solving. You do not always have to be in a hurry. In the early stages of a project, try not to get distracted by other problems. Focus on finding the real problem.
Once you are sure you have found it, you can move on to finding the best solution. Then move on to the next step and so on. It becomes clear that being methodical is a brilliant tactic.
UX Problem Solving is All about the Ecosystem
UX problem solving is not about fine details. So try to care less about the design and more about the ecosystem you want to create. That will help you gather all the data you need, from user opinions to analytics.
Low-Fidelity vs. High-Fidelity Wireframes
Starting with sketches and low-fidelity wireframes is a brilliant thing to do. Whenever I have tried to start a project directly with high-fidelity wireframes, I have gotten bogged down in details.
For this reason, pen and paper should be your best friends in UX problem-solving. Sketches help you explore different approaches and get the feedback you need.
Explore Different Tools/Approaches
When it comes to solving a UX problem, there is usually one efficient solution. But that is not always the case. In most cases, we have to consider different alternatives and identify more than one critical interaction.
For this reason, feedback is also crucial for UX problem-solving. Your colleagues and customers will help you find the best method. Try to accept criticism and be open when listening to feedback. This way, you will ensure that you will find the best possible solution.
Solving a UX problem is not easy. However, if you identify the real problem and illustrate different approaches, you will be on the right track. Also, do not neglect to use the data and feedback you collect. The more tools you have in hand, the better UX designer you will be.
Featured image via Unsplash.