Thinking like a UX designer

A designer's most important tool is their brain. Design, at its most basic definition, is problem-solving.

In any product, there are many moving pieces a UX designer must know and care about. Inevitably, there will be some issues that go unnoticed, which is why iteration is crucial. Every product can be improved.

These are some aspects any designer must keep in mind while designing a product.

Design Thinking

Design thinking is probably the most known way of thinking. It focuses on understanding the real problems by asking how it is that we think about issues.

One easy way of understanding what design thinking does is to recall Henry Ford's quote:

"If I had asked people what they wanted, they would've said faster horses."

It is necessary to look deep into a problem and find the root cause To change the paradigm.

The Design Thinking Method has always looked pretty similar to the scientific method. For me, it is a way of thinking we are already familiar with, but we tend to forget.

Design ThinkingScientific Method

Design Thinking solves one of the problems forbidding us to get lost in a feedback loop where we get lost in our assumptions. In other words, Design thinking helps us look at the problem from different angles without taking for granted anything.

Systems thinking

Systems thinking is a way of thinking in which we can understand how all the elements of our products are connected.

A product is more than the sum of its parts. Again, system thinking shines in showing us the relationship of the elements of a product.

It consists of three parts:

  1. Elements
  2. Interconnection
  3. Purpose

By understanding how our system works, we can find the need for specific elements or their relationship. In real-world scenarios, it could translate into combining elements to achieve the same purpose.

For example, it has always been funny how the government paperwork needs many copies of the same document primarily since they issue them.

In an ideal UX-designed world - you'd only need an ID to be able to achieve your purpose, and a universal ID would eliminate all the repeated elements.

Business and Marketing thinking

A product may be beautiful, but it is useless if it doesn't work for the business. In the same way, a product may be ugly, but if it works for the company, it works.

Amazon and Craiglist are the perfect examples of ugly designs that help a business grow.

While I believe both business and marketing thinking deserve a whole section and complete books each. I didn't make separate sections because they are interconnected in many ways.

Business Thinking

Business Thinking focuses on understanding a company's mission, vision, and values and its relationship with its products.

It is crucial to track every KPI related to the business to understand where the company can improve a design t better serve the goals and users.

Lean Canvas is a standard tool used to understand the role of design within an organization. A UX designer must have a Birdseye view of the business.

Marketing thinking

Marketing thinking looks to understand how a product is going to be marketed. How will a company find clients?

There are three types of advertising:

  1. Earned Media
  2. Paid Media
  3. Owned Media

A UX designer must understand when to use each. While a marketer is best suited for this job, a UX designer must understand the reasons behind each decision and how the product, design, and experience fit into the marketing.

A product must communicate the brand message, unique value proposition and show its position to its competitors.

Product thinking

Product Thinking is where everything comes together. It marries the problems, solutions, and business goals.

It asks what features are needed, when and how to implement them.

To draw from journalism, it asks the 5w's:

  • Who: The user, the business
  • What: The problem, the features, the goals, the business goals
  • When: The strategy, The user flow
  • Where: The context
  • Why: The strategy, the business' vision, and mission

It is impossible to foresee every problem, but thinking like a UX designer will help you prevent any hiccups.

We already know how to think the designer's way. It is just a matter of drawing from our experiences and past learnings.