How UX design solves business problems

Sobaka Pavlova
7 min readMar 21, 2022


Designers say they solve business problems. And this is true, otherwise the business would refuse to pay. Another thing is that designers often cannot explain exactly how they do it.

The business came up with the task, so where is the connection between user scripts, grids, colors, UI kits, or test protocols? In this article, we will close this gap and use examples to show the connection between business tasks and the activities of UX designers.

What is a design challenge

Designers do not solve the entire business problem. A business problem is always complex and requires the involvement of different specialists. Moreover, the way to solve a business problem can also be different, and not everyone needs a design. It follows that we cannot describe the role of the designer based only on the formulation of the business problem. We need something more specific and closer to our design activities. That is a design challenge.

The design challenge formulates what exactly and by what means the designer should do in order to contribute to the solution of the business problem. Also, the design task may contain additional requirements and restrictions that are clarified during the discussion of the project.

In our company, we prescribe a business problem and the design challenge that follows from it for each project. This technique allows us not to lose focus in the process of work and do exactly what the business needs.

Typical business challenges

We have analyzed dozens of design projects in recent years and grouped them according to the types of requests from our clients.

  • Bring their ideas to the market.
  • Bring the interface in line with industry standards.
  • Create a high-level system or product from scratch.
  • Strengthen their expertise in the field of UX.
  • Improve the interface pointwise.

This is not a complete list of all the challenges with which business comes to designers, this is only our experience. But we still dare to assume that it is quite typical.

Next, we will give examples of working formulations of business and design challenges and give brief comments about the features of each type of challenge.

Bring their own ideas to the market

1. Voltage and current calibrator (read case)

Business challenge: to bring the development to a wide market, offering the interface as a competitive advantage.

Design challenge: to create an interface that will compare favorably with analogs in terms of convenience, speed and aesthetics.

2. Business process automation (read case)

Business challenge: create a simplified version of an internal product for a different market segment; use a simplified version of the product to attract buyers of the main product.

Design challenge: to analyze similar solutions, identify best practices and, based on them, create an interface for a non-professional user.

3. Platform for neuroscience (read case)

Business challenge: the company operates in the research market and wants to enter the market of marketing tools with the same product.

Design challenge: to adapt the interface to a different user profile (marketer) without ruining it for the main profile (scientist), maintaining a balance between simplicity and functionality.

Features of this kind of business challange

  • A significant part of the design expertise is within the customer company.
  • Having a working product requires the client to bring in external performers for a fresh, unbiased look.
  • Design is often regarded as one of the competitive advantages, so the requirements for it are quite high.

Bring the interface in line with industry standards

4. Logistic company

Business challenge: modernize the digital side of the business to keep up with market standards.

Design challenge: gather business requirements and draw prototypes that meet those requirements.

5. Government consulting

Business challenge: get approval from the government client, who did not accept the intermediate results due to the excessive complexity of the interfaces and insufficient aesthetics.

Design challenge: to redesign the interface without significantly affecting the logic of the system so that it meets industry standards for such systems.

6. Polymer supplier

Business challenge: gain a competitive advantage through a user-friendly website interface integrated with an internal application processing system.

Design challenge: based on user needs, implement interface solutions that can be integrated with CRM. Prepare prototypes for development.

Features of this kind of business challange

  • Low expectations for UX, design is not used as a competitive advantage.
  • Well-defined functionality that is not subject to major revision.

Create a high-level system or product from scratch

7. Register management

Business challenge: complete a pilot project to secure a contract to develop the entire system.

Design challenge: to demonstrate in interfaces that the company understands the requirements of the head client.

8. Blood pressure monitoring (read case)

Business challenge: Be the first to enter a highly specialized niche and gain a competitive advantage by targeting the product to two adjacent audiences.

Design challenge: to develop a product interface according to a high-level (product) formulation in a limited time.

9. Tourist portal

Business challenge: in a state of high uncertainty and a large number of features and hypotheses of varying degrees of development, understand in which direction the product should develop.

Design challenge: to test the already implemented functionality on users, comparing it with similar services familiar to the user. Test hypotheses on users, having previously drawn ideas in the form of prototypes.

10. Multi-component medical system (read case)

Business challenge: to create a powerful multi-component system from scratch

Design challenge: creating the entire visual-interface part of the product. Facilitate high-level discussions of business requirements, form a design statement and ensure the delivery of layouts to development.

Features of this kind of business challange

  • The most difficult type of business task due to the high level of uncertainty.
  • Lack of clear TI. A mandatory requirement for a design team — is to be able to independently formulate a design statement based on vague input.
  • Design layouts often become a tool for the formation and refinement of business requirements.

Strengthen their expertise in the field of UX

11. Startup at the intersection of telecom and finance

Business challenge: strengthen the team with a senior external UX designer with experience working on complex modular systems.

Design challenge: get into the development process.

12. Business process automation (read case)

Business challenge: to improve the interface at the level of the principles of its creation in order to reduce the burden on the technical support service now and in the future and simplify the sales process.

Design challenge: to completely rebuild the interface structure, develop a UI kit and principles of its application, demonstrate the assembly of the interface on several sections of the system and transfer the best practices for independent support and development of the interface with the help of the client.

13. Manufacturing management (read case)

Business challenge: strengthen your UX expertise and get a tool with which to provide good enough UI in the future.

Design challenge: using the example of one block, develop a UI kit in close cooperation with the client’s UX designer.

Features of this kind of business challange

  • Close work with UX-designers, analysts, developers on the client’s side.
  • Packing expertise into tangible artifacts: UI kit, design system, principles of building an interface.

Improve the interface pointwise

14. Oil and gas company (read case)

Business challenge: to improve the procurement information portal to better serve internal users.

Design challenge: to find out the role of the information portal in the procurement process and propose solutions to eliminate the most problematic areas.

15. Brewing equipment shop

Business challenge: evaluate the feasibility of investing in the development of the site.

Design challenge: through testing and peer review, to identify problem areas in the interface so that the business can evaluate the feasibility and cost of improvements.

16. Hosting provider

Business challenge: to improve the interface of the personal account, making it clearer for different user groups.

Design challenge: to design an interface that adapts to different levels of technical literacy of the user.

Features of this kind of business challange

  • Small budget for changes.
  • It is difficult for a designer to be limited to point improvements.
  • The manager or analyst should keep the scope of the task, engaging the designer as a consultant instead of a key performer.

* * *

The set of methods that the design team uses in their work is relatively small. Interviews, testing, conceptual and detailed design, creation of a design system. The list could be endless. Because the solution to a problem is always private. Methods are nothing more than tools that by themselves do not answer the question “what will be the result?”

Our experience shows that it is critical to explicitly fix the incoming business challenge and, together with the client, formulate the design challenge. This is done by laying in it a summary of future work.

Keeping the focus on the design challenge and understanding how it relates to the higher-level business one is, if not a guarantee of success, then a significant increase in the chances of doing exactly what was intended.



Sobaka Pavlova

We create interface designs for complex IT systems, work with new and existing IT products, write help content, unify work with interfaces and texts.