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.
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.
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.
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.
They came to us with the vision of creating a digital space that enables those to share stories of loved ones so that they might live on. To say this is a delicate subject area would be an understatement and one that requires deep empathy to navigate. It was therefore key to build an understanding of the audience in question if we were to build a space that helps people to cope with their loss.
To do so, we gained invaluable insight from those who had lost someone within the last five years and conducted multiple workshops before we arrived at the concept for Memory Cloud. Memory Cloud provides a simple and immersive way for users to share their stories of loved ones. We would not have been able to create such a comforting and trusted space without the input of possible users.
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.
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.
This has the potential to have a considerable impact on Vivobarefoot’s bottom line, but also presents an opportunity to get to grips with the nuances of customers’ experiences and build a digital solution that informs and aids the transition.
We conducted multiple interviews with potential and existing users as well as internal stakeholders to elicit insights that would enable us to develop a tool that customers need, forming part of an enhanced post-purchase experience that builds on the existing relationships with the brand.
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.