Pain Points, Goals & Solutions — How to turn user insights into actions.

You never stop learning in user experience, each project is a new challenge where you’ll encounter a problem you never come across before. So having recently completed a course in UX over at General Assembly I’ve been seeking out precisely that and recently attended the meetup UX Playground on a lecture and workshop on translating user’s pain points into goals and then solutions.

UX Playground hosted by Chakib Labidi

Now let’s be clear what we exactly mean by a user’s pain point, because there’s a couple of ways to interpret it:

The first, as defined in Michael Karp’s great article ‘How To Identify Your Customers Pain Points’ is by finding the people who need your products and services in their lives, because your products solve a problem that’s been nagging them for so long.

The second — of which this post is about — is when you have a product already launched and aim to minimise the friction in certain user flows, which you’ve already identified through interviews with your users. Or, you could have found this data out from identifying clear trends through what users are saying on relevant social media channels.

Here was our basic approach in the workshop:

  1. Identify common pain points directly from user quotes
  2. Translate these to a clear goals for the team
  3. Brainstorm solutions

We used Whatsapp within our group and checked on the App store under reviews for negative feedback, which we could translate into pain points. We picked a review from a user who didn’t know how to save specific chat messages.

We defined our goal as:

Create a feature where the user can bookmark certain chats to retreive them easily at a later date.

Pain point > team goal > solution

Playing with the product we discovered that you can currently bookmark certain chats by the ‘star’ feature and then retrieve them through the ‘settings’ menu. Although a quick poll within our group (and also with friends that I asked who are high frequent users of whatsapp) confirmed that that ‘starring’ isn’t clear as a bookmarking feature, it needs to be better signposted.

So our goal needed to be redefined:

Create a way to make the ‘star’ feature more identifiable as a feature to save chats.

At this point it was necessary to diverge our thinking and come up with a few ideas to solve this issue. Here’s a few we came up with:

  1. Change the star icon for label ‘Save’.
  2. Swipe the message to save it.
  3. Change the icon to a ‘tag’ icon.

We concluded that the the tag icon would be the best solution since it’s more relatable to saving messages than the ‘star’. And since the star is used as the icon for your favourite contacts, then it’s worthwhile differentiating the two as different icons entirely.

Tag icon instead of star:

Clearer signposting — replacing the ‘star’ for a tag icon

Currently you need to go to ‘Settings > Starred Messages’ to retrieve them. But I advocate the use of adding a link more readily available to the user. I’ve often found the need to save message and I believe it’s a valuable feature and shouldn’t take a few clicks to reach it.

Tag icon in the Chats header:

Adding icon to the top bar

What I learnt

Obviously this isn’t the ordinary process of going about translating pain points. Research on the app must be done first to understand wether the feature you’re creating already exists, but nonetheless there’s still lessons to be learnt from the scenario I was in, where the feature we were aiming to create already existed, which is that every feature you create that will be interacted with by the user, must be interrogated and tested, to acknowledge it’s meeting the objective it was designed for.

When have you redefined your goal from a user pain point?