What is a design problem

How do you solve a problem with the help of design?

The answer is actually very simple: by asking the right questions. And unfortunately so many just do it wrong.

Many move too quickly into their design process without even knowing more about the customer and their business goals. And that's exactly what I did when I started my own business.

The best thing I can do is tell you a simple example so that you can imagine it better:

When I got into a new business relationship or received a project request before, I naturally tried to understand the goals of the project. Probably not as intensely and consciously as today, but I always asked a few questions. However, these questions were very superficial. And the answers to that were summarized something like this:

  • The customer needs a website.
  • It has to be ready by a certain date.
  • He describes himself / his product / his service.
  • He thinks this and that is good.
  • He gave me some insights into existing marketing / office equipment / content.

And with this information I went out and designed the interface and created the website. Three weeks later I'm back and handed them over to them and that's it.

It was a typical design process of mine, especially at the beginning, and maybe one or the other can find their way into it. And if so, I want to tell you today exactly how and why you should do it better.

Sometimes I went in the right direction and sometimes in the wrong direction and my layout missed the real goal. And the only reason for this is that I haven't invested enough time to talk about the real problem and to diagnose it in the first place (i.e. to determine or determine it).

We're talking too quickly about aesthetics and graphical appearance

So what you shouldn't do at the beginning is to ask questions about the appearance or the graphical interface. How a website should be perceived or which problems could be solved with which colors does not initially matter.

Especially at the beginning you need to understand the much deeper problems. What is the customer trying to achieve with the business behind it and what are the goals of the project and the company in general?

If you understand or find out these problems and goals, everything you do from then on will be a lot more valuable to the customer because then you can really help them create a solution. And this design really solves the problems he has.

So if you're stuck with a potential client or in your first project meeting, ask yourself:

  • How quickly do you give instructions when you should still be asking questions?
  • How quickly do you go into the design part? Are you missing some information after all?
  • How quickly do you deal with aesthetic and graphic problems before you have even 100% understood the actual background and the problem?

You may also sometimes wonder why some designers make more money than others. Just think about this very subject because that is the key difference.

Some solve a problem and others only deal half, not purposefully or too insecurely with it.


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For example, what are the problems that we as designers can solve?

You can read about how valuable a web designer is in a project or for the customer in this article.

Many designers, who are perhaps just starting out, always hear “problem, problems”, but don't really know when the customer mentions a problem, what is important and what should be written down or then solved. So let me just list a few problems and goals that customers or companies have:

Possible stated goals and problems:

We have a new product X in our online shop that is not selling well enough and we want it to be properly presented.
Classic problem. A possible solution would be: Create a landing page and market the product specifically online so that a high conversion rate can be achieved. (Start the free 4-part video series here).

Our goal is to attract more visitors and, accordingly, to generate more customers and collaborations.
First ask why not enough new visitors are coming to the site at the moment. The answers bring you to the problem and, accordingly, to the solution that you have to design. Example: There is not enough good and interesting content on the website that is search engine friendly and can also be found by people. So maybe you create a blog area where the company can talk more about itself, its strengths and activities (content marketing).

We don't have enough applicants, but we have so much work to do that we almost burst.
A possible solution would be: Design a section for the website that is only about employment, application and benefits and why it is so nice to work for this company.

We have two ideas for a new service that we want to offer. However, we are still unsure which of these is the better solution. Can you help us
Here it may be more important not to design a finished or final layout, but to try out both variants during user testing. The best way that we as designers can provide for this is to create a prototype in order to get feedback for both ideas quickly in reality.

Depending on which customer you are dealing with, the problems mentioned can of course also be smaller or more normal. Such as:

We have a cafe, fashion shop or company X and we need a website that represents us.
Here you definitely have to find out what is important to them, how they want to be perceived externally and why they think they need a website like this in the first place. The answers will show you what to look for in your concept and layout. On the outside, such a request always sounds very simple. But in order for you to really prioritize the benefits and important features of the customer or their service, you definitely need to ask the right questions.

What questions you can ask to find out the goals and problems in a project

Asking the right questions, that's what matters. But how exactly do you formulate this professionally? How do you show the customer that you know what you're doing?

That's exactly what I want to talk about next week. With the help of one of my project inquiries, I'll show you how exactly I discuss back and forth with the customer until I've really figured out the problem and the goals.

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