Solving tough design challenges with UX

Deliver impactful solutions and cut through the noise by leveraging UX design as the process to solve difficult design challenges.

Written by: James Pancaldi
035 Yoyo August 2019 HIGHRES 3072

User experiences, digital or physical, are all around us. Some of the best ones we hardly ever notice and some of them we definitely do. The ones we do pay attention to are those that delight us. Not only because they are no doubt functional, reliable, follow key Usability Principles and facilitate proficiency; but they are laced with creativity. When it comes to solving difficult design challenges, User Experience (UX) Design as a process, is well positioned to elicit insights which contribute to all levels of Design’s hierarchy of needs and ensure experiences have maximum impact. Especially when allowing time and space to add that creative signature.

One of the displays in ‘‘Nur: Light in Art and Science from the Islamic World’’  in Seville, Spain.
Design Hierarchy of Needs, Steven Bradley (2010)

Knowing where to start when designing for tough issues can be tricky in itself. That’s where good old fashioned processes come into play, providing a pragmatic approach to defining the problem and taking you through a series of phases to produce a solution.

Whether you take a User-Centred, Human-Centred, or Design Thinking approach, or even a mixture, the pragmatic nature of these processes provide flexible constraints which help you answer your questions as a designer and get closer to an impactful solution.

028 Yoyo FEB22 HIGHRES 0079

What do you do when faced with a difficult design challenge?

When faced with a sensitive issue or niche topic, you might feel like a rabbit in headlights. Fear not, the solution, or at least the means to get there, is only on the other side of the road. You just need to get out of the way of the car first. UX methodologies offer just that; the tools to research and explore - to thaw the frozen rabbit - and focus on feasible and viable solutions.

What does it take to make the first step, then? In classic user-centred, human-centred or design thinking fashion we need to kick things off by developing an understanding of the problem. We want to define the issue we are trying to solve and who exactly it concerns so that we can focus our efforts in creating something that people actually want - for this, it’s imperative to know your audience.

Next up, we’re going to jump into a couple of projects that we’re proud of at Yoyo, where we’ve done just that to build a solution that solves a specific problem.

Marie Curie, Memory Cloud

Marie Curie is a charity which cares for people with terminal illnesses and provides end of life care. Whilst they strive to change public perception of death, which is a difficult reality for us all, they are acutely aware of bereavement and the healing process when we lose the ones we love.

Mc Screen 01

Education Support, Website redesign

Education is a two-way street. Teachers and education staff are essential to society, let alone our own individual upbringings so it’s incredibly important that we support them as much as they support us. That’s where Education Support comes in, helping support and campaign for the wellbeing of teachers and education staff in the UK. 

They came to us without a website that wasn’t fit for purpose given the importance of the role in their audience’s lives. Our brief was to redesign the website however, after developing a deeper understanding of teachers’ and education staffs’ needs there was the potential to do more. 

Taking into consideration that individuals might visit the website in a state of crisis, we wanted to build a solution that helped surface the wealth of useful information on the site which might otherwise be one click too far away.

Education Support Conversational UI

Vivobarefoot, Transition tool

Despite the numerous health benefits, the switch from a cushioned shoe to a minimal alternative is perhaps too great a leap for some. This is precisely the issue faced by Vivobarefoot, the sector-leading brand in ‘barefoot’ shoe technology. If customers buy a pair of Vivo shoes there is a risk that they aren’t aware of the need to adapt to a new way of walking and, dissatisfied with the experience, return them.


These days we have digital products and online experiences coming out of our ears. To help your business cut through the noise and deliver a solution that your customers and users alike both want and need, you first need to establish an in-depth understanding of the problem space. UX design is the process which arms you with the insight to add moments of delight to your experiences and help your audience achieve their goals.

Related post

You get what you give: Reciprocity and designing with exchange in mind

Read next

055 Yoyo FEB22 HIGHRES