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Questioning – A UX skill

Every designer, be it a product, visual, UX, or UI, every role has responsibilities that link up with one another. And one of those is to craft the “perfectest” design that resolves the needs of the users. 

We all aim at knitting an experience that is backed up with layers of decisions based upon fiber of feedback and insights that are gathered from testing. 

Delivering such a kind of product requires us to question everything; at the right time. But this doesn’t mean to question trivial requests such as text size change but a more important section where it impacts the solution to the problem.

Question everything. Be curious about finding out the problem and also providing the solution. Great questions will influence the design process. And by asking the right questions, one can take a sub-par product to an ungraded product that is intuitive and well-researched.  

But before we start, the first question is to ask ourselves, and the question is:

What is the problem we are trying to solve? The answer we come up with is what we will repeat to ourselves(and others) when we question our designs, asking ourselves, “Does this help to solve the problem.”

Hold on!

Before taking that answer at face value, we need to know more about how they got to that answer:

Why are you or the client trying to solve problem X?

What has informed this decision?

Is this the best use of our time? Can we focus our efforts elsewhere?

Yes, it is a pool of questions, but that is what will help us get through the ocean of problems. Not just question everything, answer everyone’s questions, cause that’s what we designers are for. After all this questioning now, we have left the treasure trove of answers. These answers will help us:

  1. Understand better
  2. Find out how users feel whilst using the product
  3. Find out how will solving the problem help users 
  4. More information will help in better decision making

Furthermore, not only it is our job to question everything, but it’s also our role to be questioned; and we better be ready with the answers. 

One of the tricky parts of being a designer is when the work is evaluated. Not getting distressed about criticism is crucial as it is meant to be embraced. 

User testing is an important phase and is also a phase where it is acceptable to ask a zillion questions. Ensuring a few questions handy will help in a 100%output of testing. Asking questions like below will assist in detailed feedback from the users.

Questions like:

  1. Do you use ABC daily?
  2. Would you use this product?
  3. How did you find the test?
  4. What about the product was inconvenient?
  5. What other products do you use?
  6. What do you think about product Z?
  7. Did you understand Z?
  8. Was there any hindrance while completing a task?

Asking different types of questions will keep the user engaged. A set of mixed questions about the products, experience, other products, and usability. The main purpose here

  1. They provide insights into what isn’t working.
  2. They validate the decisions taken.

Coming back to being questioned, what happens when we fundamentally disagree with the client’s feedback? We need to think through and ask ourselves,

Why do you disagree?

Kudos, if this question is already thought through. We’ve got the perfectest product(but not technically). If not, now is the time. The reasons for disagreement can be:

  1. The change is purely based on personal preferences and isn’t backed by any reasoning, which we feel can negatively affect the product.
  2. The change has been proven to be a vital part of the design.

If either applies, then bracing ourselves and keeping all the validations and insights is what will make us all set to discuss the feedback. If not, we are left with changes that will not impact usability which can be implemented. 

By this, we are clear about asking too many questions is a UX skill, which will, in turn, will help in the betterment of the product. 

Final thoughts

Keeping questions simple and straightforward will make users comfortable and thus have an insightful conversation with the users. Good practices that everyone can adopt are to record user interviews and take notes. This will help in listening back to the questions and answers to check upon biased pr confusing questions asked to avoid next time. 

Happy questioning!

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