The problem is the solution

A session at HCID Open Day 2012

Tuesday 4th December, 2012

1:00pm to 1:40pm (GMT)

Over years of working in User Experience, both client and agency side, I have realised that the key to delivering a useful, usable, and engaging experience is working on the right problem. While this may seem self-evident, most user experience engagements start with a request for a website / App / Facebook page etc. We then run off and happily design the best possible solution in the best possible way; the client agrees and it gets built and goes live and fails.

Why? Because the wrong problem was addressed.

This talk discusses what to do when you come across this situation by:
Working with your client to help them identify the real problem and not the solution
It is one of the most natural things for a client (internal or external) to see a problem, think they know what a good solution might be and then go find someone to execute it. Unfortunately, when the problem exists outside of their core area of expertise or experience, their diagnosis is often not specific enough and frequently inaccurate — If you're a heart surgeon and your mouth hurts, you don't tell a dentist to perform a root canal. You tell the dentist what the symptoms are and let them make the diagnosis and recommendation. By converting the problem definition process from a purely transactional into a consultative and inclusive one, not only is the correct problem identified but everyone agrees on the priority of the outcome and the method of achieving it.
Educating them via the discovery process
It is this consultative approach, the discovery process, that is the real heart of the transformation. This process gathers information about the client's business, their business problem, who the users are, what is know about them and their behaviour and then analyses and prioritises the first two layers of the outcome. However, while the overt purpose is to gather information, the covert purpose is three-fold:
1. to create a common team
2. To create a common understanding of the problem
3. To create a common solution approach
Thus, the client will have transformed from a purchaser of a service to a participant, evangelist in the solution and of your offering — a partner
Using the strengths of your team to make the solution better
Creating a great time comes down to some simple heuristics:
1. Hire to put yourself out of a job
2. Your team owns it, not you
3. Delegate and support

Bio: Robert Fein is an Experienced Strategist, Director and Leader who successfully balances commercial, client and team needs to create award winning user experiences. He has become the classic “T-shaped” leader over his 17 years of experience, both client and agency-side, across a range of industries and domains ranging from consumer software applications for Technology companies to SAAS solutions for non-profits through complex Retail multichannel eCommerce and campaigns. He has been responsible for building UX organisations in start-ups and agencies and has turned UX into a competitive advantage for every place he has worked. Amongst the work he has been responsible for are: Boots -- the most improved usability website of 2009; Waitrose and the soon-to-be-relaunched Time Out.

About the speaker

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Robert Fein

UX Director and general gadfly bio from Twitter

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Time 1:00pm1:40pm GMT

Date Tue 4th December 2012

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