Solving the right problem, solving the problem right.

Design process

There are so many ways of approaching a problem. Every person has a unique preference informed by their personality, their background and experience, their training. There is never just one solution to a problem, however, it can be a great shortcut to have a methodology to lean on, draw from, and inevitably deviate from. 

As an anthropologist I learned and practised the methodologies of academic social research: ethnography, participant observation, interviewing, surveys, demographic research, cross-cultural analysis. Transitioning into UX Design I draw on all these skills, and I have developed others: heuristic analysis, competitive and domain research, affinity mapping, card sorting, usability testing, concepting, wireframing, iterating… With each new project I select the methodologies that seem best to fit, and usually apply them within the British Design Council framework: the Double Diamond.

In this blog series I’m going to dive deeper on the metaphorical tools in my design box, how I’ve applied them, and where the benefits and drawbacks lie. But just to kick us off, what is the Double Diamond? 

First announced by the British Design Council in 2005, the Double Diamond was conceived as an easy visualisation of successful design processes that can be applied to solve problems in or out of design. (If you’d like to know more about how they developed it, this article is a great read!) At its simplest, it shows the phases of the design process, starting with research to “discover” the problem, then analysis to narrow down and “define” it. Once defined, you move into an ideation phase to “develop” the possible solution(s), and through a process of testing and iteration, the project is “delivered”. 

As a framework for approaching and managing a project, I find this elegant and more importantly adaptable. It can be run through entirely in a day, over a week, or several weeks. At any point you can circle back to expand the scope or narrow the parameters as necessary, and it provides a structure that you can track progress against.

As I go through the UX methodologies I use, I will relate them back to this framework in particular, as it shows simple ideas can sometimes be the best!