Asking good questions is essential for great design
Great questions are the lifeblood of great design. A well-placed question uncovers insights and provokes new ways of looking at the world.
A discipline I recommend for designers and design practices: start a running list of good questions, and add to it every time a new question presents itself.
At HANDSOME, our running list now has over 200 questions. Before each major engagement (and several times during), I’ll take a look through these questions and will almost always find a new line of inquiry I would not have thought of otherwise.
To help you get started with your own list, here are a few general questions:
- Where do you feel stuck?
- Where do things feel broken?
- What politics are involved here?
- What do you wish you had more time to do?
- What makes you angry?
- When do you find yourself losing track of time?
- What things do you find yourself complaining about?
- If you had an extra hour in the day, how would you spend it?
- What is wasted?
- What wears you out?
- What problem are we solving? Why this a problem worth solving?
- Currently, what things make this problem worse? What things make this problem less of a problem?
- What don’t we understand yet?
- What are the edges of the problem? What is out of bounds of this problem space, or what problem are we not solving?
- What ways have people tried to solve this problem previously? Were they successful?
- What are we most passionate about?
- What behaviors need to happen in order for this initiative to be successful?
- What do you wish someone else would do for you?
- If this product were magic, how would that experience look?
- What battle are we fighting?
- Who is the hero in this story? What makes them a hero?
- What achievements are we most proud of?
- What characteristics or attributes of this thing or this group are we most proud of?
- At the end of the day, what is the story we want to tell?
- In what ways may our educational background influence the way we understand this thing? What about cultural or socioeconomic background?
- How will we handle conflict?
Sometimes the information or inspiration needed to solve a problem lies behind the right question. And remember, there’s always at least one more question you can ask.
Originally published at blog.invisionapp.com on February 22, 2016.