Solving Problems – An Innovative Approach For Innovative Designers

Facing problems is part of life, how to deal with them is the job of active grey matter. A problem may look the same, but effective solution comes after looking at the problem differently. If same procedure were repeated for the same problem, the result would be the same. To solve a problem differently, a different perspective is needed. This new perspective could involve new visuals, questioning differently, or using different language. Looking at a problem from new angles: visual, strategic, or functional, helps in reaching at the results with true innovation and creativity in action.

How Does Neuropsychology Work For Visual Designers?

To know more about the working of brain to come up at a creative solution about a certain problem, little understanding of Neuropsychology is needed.

Jonan Leherer says in his book ‘Imagine’ that the creative moment comes when the right brain makes an abstract connection between two dissimilar ideas. There are many stories in history where insignificant events have resulted in amazingly creative ideas. Newton’s theory about gravity is one such example. It means brain gets triggered by some events and it leads towards solving a problem in a creative way.

In the designing world, while working over a web design, designers think about some tried and tested ideas to solve certain problem. Sometimes these ideas work and sometimes these don’t. When the left brain fails to develop connections from old ideas, it’s time to see the problem from a different perspective.

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Once the left brain gets stuck in the problem and fails to move, the right brain starts working with the help of images. It seems more like a magic when new connections are made and things start falling into place.

Most of the times, creativity comes when it’s not expected. Your mind may get triggered when your friend says something; your spouse shares the frustration and the way to solve that. All these situations help in making some new connections that ultimately contribute towards solving the problem creatively.

Designers To Look For New Perspectives

Here are some ways to look at the problem differently when it comes to designing and coming up at some useful connections. These are helpful for visual and UX designers to find out feature sets and to define scope.

Get prints of visuals

If you want to see a problem from some different perspective, you will have to get prints of some visual stuff and paste it on wall. It will help you in getting a closer look at the things that were in your mind. It will surely help in making some strong connections and generating new ideas instead of just retaining the information.

Now, the question is what to get the prints of? Here are two things: competitors and inspiration.

Competitors: While working on an ecommerce website, just pick the product pages of 10-15 competitors and get prints on 11 × 17-inch paper. Observe the printed papers and find out things that work and that don’t. You can test the ideas of competitors instead of putting your own efforts for months. Notice the good work of competitors and the failures of the design as well. You would be in a position to make connections that work well for your own design.

Inspiration: Get print outs of 10-15 pages of UI elements. Place the pieces on board after cutting the ones from pages you have printed out. You will see that different patterns will appear that you can use for a solution. If you don’t find any relevant patterns, then go for some more inspirational work. While arranging the inspirational work, put some total different patterns that weren’t in the work of competitors. It will help in minimizing the chances of copying.

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Use the same language and test that

While working in a team of designers, there are chances to use different language for the same products, attributes of the products, or just label of a button. Visual designers might not think it’s their domain; they leave the whole thing to copywriters. In actual, it’s not possible to separate the copywriting from visual designs. Involving the copywriters in the process of language refining of a website is the best approach. They can help in presenting different language ideas, using specific product terminology, and also refining the instructions.

When teams use different words, different language for the same product, it shows internal confusion. It results in dividing the team, not to unify them. The language should be clarified to everyone working in a team.

Questioning differently

For designers, being stuck at a problem means they are not making right kind of questions. Asking the same question brings nothing, but the same answer. The point is to ask a new question or rephrase the question to get some new answer.

It happens sometimes that the problem is visual. Some layout element might not be working well with the overall design. The problem-causing element might not be the apparent one, but the surrounding one. Here are some ways to solve such a problem.

• Remove certain items from the paper (that you taken print of), it might help in reaching at certain solution.
• Illustration can be a good option instead of looking at a photo
• Experiment with colors
• Split the grid
• Focus different parts
• Try some new navigation approach

Try different approach for data documentation

While working on data, try some new ways to visualize or display data. Hunt for some new parameters. Using different formats to view data will bring some new things in front of you. Putting the problem in new model like using some storyboard, an analytical report, or a mental model will help in changing the data format. Looking at different models for different things will help in devising more detailed strategy and will give a clear picture of the design challenges. You will discover some new risks and hence new solutions.

When you look at the bigger picture of the problem, it will reveal how the app or a certain website would be used and how the users would behave during staying at the website. It will help in reaching at a solution quickly. Zooming out the picture will also guide the designing team whether they are moving the right or the wrong way in terms of finding some solution.

Concluding The Discussion…

When you see new problem while working on a new project, look at the problem from different perspective. Other than the ways mentioned above, you could also try some new ways and tools of looking at the problem. It can be in the form of new tools, new music, or new workflows. The essence of the discussion is if you look at the problem the same way, you will reach at the same results all the times. To find new results, you will have to follow the problem with different approach.

Author Bio: This Post is written by Maria Shehar Bano. To Read more stuff by her visit her Web Design Blog.

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