In some cases, you are called to a meeting at work. You might, over the course of the meeting, be told to do something but still not be confident about how to start because of a higher domain or not enough context of the problems. Although you might feel informed during the meeting, you still need to keep asking for information to have a better understanding of problem space. Below is how I move through my process when being asked to do a project.
When I am still not sure about what to do after the meeting, I try to find someone who can provide information for me. I prepare myself with the questions before reaching out to them. My initial questions would be ‘What are goals we are trying to accomplish?’, ‘Why are we doing this?’, ‘Who is it for?’, ‘What are their goals?’, etc. I let them tell our user’s stories or sometimes even have them role play as my users. Then, I could conduct online research on my own to get a better understanding of problem space.
After I am clear about the context of the problems, I could either dig into more detailed points through user research or take it forward to next phase, synthesis.
I synthesize what I learn from talks with my stakeholders and online research and use these categories to create personas. Each persona has their own simple profile, perspective, quotes, and goals. I transcribe their problems into opportunity statements like HMW (How might we) to help launch brainstorming as ideation prompts. Coming along with each HMW are a series of short questions to force new thinking; they call it the ‘What if?’ prompt. It is really helpful when everyone in the room is flowing with new ideas during a brainstorming session.
Now it is time to choose a few ideas that meet my user/business goals best and also that excite me the most. After choosing, I share with my stakeholders as well as clients the ideal scenario my persona might go through with my solutions through a storyboard. I get their feedback and improve my stories. (If possible, it would be better to have real users to test it out)
After having my stakeholders confirmation, now I am able to jump to the design stage to sketch out some key screens for the app. I try to come up with as many page layouts as possible during sketching before using my computer. Prototypes can take many different forms from a storyboard to a fully interactive mockup. I try to share these deliverables every chance I get.
The entire design thinking process is all about understanding and sharing. Using only design software to be creative is not good enough anymore. I hope the article can inspire you a bit in your future career. Cheers!