Don’t fall down the rabbit hole

Example of what happens when you fall down a rabbit hole

The design process is very structured at times, and other times not so much. It can vary greatly from project to project, meaning keeping an eye on the target is extremely important for staying on track and finding the right solution.

In the design challenges I have had to complete for the UX Huge School so far, I have pinpointed the following “wandering” behaviors that I need to keep in check:

  1. Falling into a ‘research’ rabbit hole
  2. Attempting to resolve a problem for a user group that is too broad
  3. Focusing on the details before defining the bigger scope

To address the first behavior, I started by creating a list of questions that help ground my research phase. The best part about research is becoming an expert in something new. For me, this is super exciting, but at the same time, means that I may go off on a tangent.

I use the following questions as a guide:

Who is the user?

What is the number 1 user problem/challenge?

Why is this a problem?

After answering these questions and collecting a decent amount of research, I use the next set of questions to help me draw conclusions.

So what?

What does this mean?

Does this relate to my user needs and problem? How does it relate?

Is there an opportunity? If so, what is the opportunity?

Am I missing something?

As I continue developing my research process, adapting and refining these questions will be crucial. I believe I can use these questions to create a fluid discovery process and conclusion drawing system.

Now the second behavior — a user group that is too broad. I noticed in one of my earlier design challenges my user group was not well defined. This usually creates solutions that are trying to satisfy too many needs. When this happens, the product tries to do too much and becomes an unfocused solution. See example below:

“I’ve got 99 functions but practicality ain’t one”

As you can see, this multi-tool has way too many functions, making its original purpose unclear.

Always narrow down to a user group that has a clear problem to address and 1 to 3 priorities. This will ensure that your design solution is cohesive and useful.

I find it helpful to write down out all possible users on paper. Then, referencing your research, challenge and deliverables, pin point the one user group to address.

Lastly, the third behavior — always address the boulders before the pebbles! As designers, it is so tempting to focus in on the details of a product such as how does it look? How does this button open and close? What magical moments can I add here? Resisting temptation can be hard but is so important.

I find that when some of these smaller details start popping in my head, just writing them down helps me get them out of the way. I also ask myself the following questions to keep me on track:

What are the deliverables?

What is the user goal?

What is the business goal?

Asking these questions helps ground me and keep my eyes on the bigger target. I hope that these insights from my process will help you see what areas you can improve.

Yea! Conquer that boulder!

Ultimately, your goal is to arrive at the best possible solution for your user group and create the biggest positive impact for your client. If your users love your product, they will naturally integrate it into their lives.

Finding a new use for an existing product — an extra plus!
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