Posts tagged “stop solving problems”

Steve’s talk “Stop Solving Problems!”


I’ve been giving a talk entitled “Stop Solving Problems!” over the past year or so. Last week I shared that talk remotely at a joint uxWaterloo/Product Tank meetup. They’ve published their writeup here.

Often UX designers are focused on the solution, he said, rather than a deeper consideration of the people they’re trying to help. That’s partly because designers only control part of the experience, said Portigal, who appeared via videoconferencing from California where he’s based. Because designers only control part of the experience, aftermarket fixes emerge when the original design fails, said Portigal, pointing to the selfie stick as an example.

Rather, UX researchers should shift their focus from problems to people — observing them and trying to understand them…By starting with people, UX researchers can better understand their lives, their contexts, and their values. Find out what those people have done and what they have tried, he said. Let people present themselves most broadly and then, listen deeply, Portigal added. Learn what you don’t know, then focus on what you need to understand better. “This isn’t just warm and fuzzy stuff,” he said.

I’ll be doing a similar talk next week at Remote Design Week.

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