UX/Product

Is that really a user problem?

User-centred design solves organisational problems by solving user problems. Is your team really doing that?

A Kawaii picture of a broken tooth
  1. Not focusing on user problems at all
  2. Mistaking organisational problems for user problems
  3. Inventing problems users don’t have

1. No focus on user problems at all

Example — the aimless redesign

Red flag — The solution is in the project name

  • The <commodity type> basket project
  • The <app/website/journey> redesign project
  • The conversational search project
  • The one-click purchase project

Opportunity-centred projects

2. Mistaking organisational problems for user problems

3. Inventing problems that users don’t feel they have

Sub-optimal is not (necessarily) a problem

Misunderstanding is not (necessarily) a problem

Your problems, reworded as theirs

A phone asking whether I want to turn on my personalised ads

OK, so what is a user problem then?

The user is aware and cares

Specific and descriptive

They don’t always come quickly and easily

Spotting real user problems

Begin with a problem space

  • Choosing a destination for a weekend break based on the price and availability of flights
  • Engaging a financial adviser to help with your retirement
  • Researching potential software to use at work
  • Searching online for used cars to go and view in person
  • Generating traffic for your blog

Are we allowed to solve this problem?

Be pragmatic

Some further reading

About the author

Design

User research

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