The distraction of interesting problems

Product, design and research people often have a bias toward the interesting. I’m one of the offenders.

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The design of this lovely snack leads to sticky fingers for some

Should they fix this?

I love talking about this design issue (I’ve been doing so for about 8 years now) because it is an interesting problem. At the point of purchase, the visibility of the spoon is likely quite important. But when you turn the bowl over to prepare it, the spoon disappears. Post-purchase, it causes a problem.

Is your problem even real?

In the previous example I know for a fact that the problem is happening to users of the product. It’s probably happening rather a lot. But the things product people see as problems are sometimes just sub-optimal behaviour in users.

Is your problem happening often?

It’s possible to become attracted to solving problems which are rare but interesting. Say you see a few participants in user research typing a school name in to the search box of your property site. But the search can’t cope with that.

Interesting ≠impactful

Organisations have such a focus on their own products and services that internally they can forget how they live side-by-side with other solutions and are often bundled together with them to do a job for a user.

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Independent UX consultant |

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