“Good design is problem solving.” – Jeffrey Veen
You could say that actually solving the problem is good design in practice.
This rarely boils down to choosing whether or not to apply that “1px inner glow” or rearranging a few blocks of content. Quite often, it means eliminating one’s own assumptions and applying problem-solving techniques in order to truly identify the problem area. Some techniques that can help are:
- Kaizen (aka the Five Whys)
The process of asking “Why?” five times exploring cause-and-effect relationships in order to find the root problem
- Assumption Reversal
Taking all known assumptions and reversing them in order to trigger innovation
Investigating whether a similar problem has been solved in another field
The output of these methods is ideally an actionable problem statement. This will help guide the process of creating an experience that meets or exceeds the target users expectations.
Allowing or finding a solution that results in an engaging, delightful experience is the result of careful analysis and the application of the appropriate design elements to support and communicate the desired intent of your product.
As Bertrand Russell said, “The greatest challenge to any thinker [designer] is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution.”