How to solve a complex UX problem

Solving a complex UX problem.

How to solve complex UX problems.

What I’d love to be able to tell those who are thinking of designing or are in a redesign of an app, is that user experience is not rocket science.  It’s a mash of digital design and psychology to create the best in online experiences, whether it’s a store, an app or a blog.

The thing all digital products all have in common is that we have goals, whether they’re business or customer related so ensuring we meet both needs allows us to continue to grow and even keep our online business running.

So to the solopreneurs or designers who are trying to find an answer to a tricky situation with their website or software, try these options before feeling like you need to hire a UX professional.

How to solve a UX problem:

  1. Bare bones.
    Write down the minimum requirements needed from the user in order to achieve the business goals.  The minimum.  For example, don’t ask for someone’s phone number if you don’t need it.  Don’t ask for the state or give them more options when it’s not needed to achieve the sale or conversion.
  2. Brain dump.
    If you’re redesigning a solution, remove yourself from the problem and start brainstorming completely new ideas.  Be abstract if you have nothing.  If it’s a calendar app start talking and writing about time and how’s it’s displayed in everyday life.

    Can you display time using ducks? Anything, to start triggering ideas. Then once you have a bunch of meaningless post-its, try and group them together.  What are the fundamentals of these?
  3. Skin the beast.
    You’ve got a few ideas drawn out or you’re a Business Analyst who feels a bit ‘stuck’ with the solution, try and skin it.  Things always look a hell of a lot better when you put a good suit on it.  The same is with an app/website.  Get a UI designer to place the brand guidelines on it and place it in Invision so you can see it on your phone or whichever device you choose.  You’ll be surprised at how easily you can start to reorder to structure information or options when things ‘look good’.
  4. Don’t reinvent the wheel, copy it.
    Check out other apps if you’re feeling really stuck.  How did they solve this problem?  By copying you not only get the benefit of having a ton of experts do the work for you, but it means that users should be comfortable with the way it functions.

    For example: You’re looking for a way to display multiple options for a registration form.  If you’re finding it too cumbersome, checkout how Facebook or Twitter have done.

    It’s ideal to try and take those learning from a product or website that’s as similar to your solution as possible because the issue will and always be that your users may be completely different from theirs.
  5. Fail Fast.
    So even after all of that you still don’t feel like you’ve hit the nail on the head with your solution.  My suggestion? – Push it live.  Nothing gives you the greatest learning than making mistakes, so create a version you feel does the job and push it live.  Show get your friends and family to test it, grab the nearest person from you.   You are likely to see 80% of the problems with just 3-5 users.

    You don’t need to spend thousands on getting testers in.

    In one of my tests, I simply walked out on the street and started asking strangers for their opinion.  And surprisingly not one person was rude.  It meant that within 30mins I was able to go back to the office and rework the design to a more improved version.

    And yet some user tests can take days even weeks preparing, running and then evaluating!

So hopefully that gives you enough of a nose dive into problem-solving your User Experience.  For more resources around this topic checkout:

Stay informed,
Tania Richardson Designer.

10+ years as a product designer. Helping start-ups and organisations combine user research and design principals to deliver the best in online experiences.

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