The purpose of design, or for that matter, anything, is to bring in clarity. The purpose of education, in general, is to give you enough information and tools to process that knowledge so you can make sense of this world and also make others understand it better. At the heart of every design project is a big question that needs clarity. Here’s how you can get there:
Spend time with stakeholders
Start clueless! Don’t wait for your research teams to get you answers – do your own recce. Meet your users, consumers, buyers, and spend time with the clients who have commissioned you the project. Just spend time feeling around the problem. Don’t reach conclusions or think of solutions, and don’t judge. Spend time. You will collect a mine of insights that will help later on. This first hand, hands-on time is the break you are looking for. Keep spending that time till you feel the problem, till you reach an understanding of issues.
Metrics versus experience
Managers rush to solve business problems by using business metrics. It does seem straightforward but stay with the user. If solutions do not align with the experience or the user goals, they will not fulfill any metrics in the long term. User needs will naturally align with the business purpose. This fact is lost on fast track managers or business analysts. Do persist.
Talk about solutions
Keep it a work in progress. Keep yourself open to changing or twisting your solution every time you talk about it. Talk often – just don’t get stuck there. Get as much feedback as possible without justifying your earlier solution; you should be able to change its purpose instead. Your solution should grow after every interaction.
Your ‘Moment of Clarity’
Keep listening, and keep connecting; keep getting feedback, and keep changing your solution. This is not an endless exercise, you will reach your ‘Moment of Clarity’, and then you will know. Once you are there, everything clicks like an intricate puzzle; till then, don’t make compromises.
Sudhir Sharma, Editor-in-Chief