Why do so many apps fail? One reason is because they fail to address users’ problems, instead creating “solutions” that don’t actually solve anything. The notable discrepancy between problems and solutions is why one of the most useful solutions in UX design in years was created: product thinking.

Curious about product thinking — in a nutshell, strategic planning focused on user problems — that helps you better meet end user demands? Here, we’ll tell you what you need to know about it.

Defining Product Thinking

At its core, product thinking asks designers to think in products, not in features. This concept is abstract, so let us explain. Users choose an app for its ability to provide them with an experience. Thus, features are part of the experience, but they are not the experience.

Take Netflix, for example. Before the DVD mail service came around, customers would buy DVDs of their favorite movies, but likely on an irregular basis. Another problem was having to drive to the video store whenever they wanted to rent a new film. These were two interrelated problems that begged for a solution. Thus, when offering a mail-in/mail-back service, Netflix saw and solved the problem.

Product Design Lead from Netflix on the challenges, lessons learnt and the future of the product:

Canvas Conference: Interview with Navin Iyengar – Product Design Lead, Netflix from 383 on Vimeo.

The bottom line: don’t create a web or mobile app that is designed to solve a problem that doesn’t exist; identify the problem first.

INCORPORATING PRODUCT THINKING IN YOUR UX DESIGN

product thinking in ux design

Your goal is to create apps that solve problems, and the best way to ensure you’re doing just that is by answering the following questions:

  • Who is your audience?

Why this question: If you’re thinking too broadly, you’re less likely to come up with an actual problem. Instead, narrow your scope to an audience that could truly benefit from your product.

Olena Nikolova, Ciklum UX Designer

Have you ever visited a doctor who listened to your complaints for 1 minute and then spent 20 giving you prescriptions? Lack of a good product thinking approach is just like that: jumping at conclusions and solutions without having the big picture. Proper research of the audience and their needs, thorough problem investigation is key to developing successful products that will help people achieve their goals.

  • What is your audience’s problem?

You need to find a real problem, not simply something you think is a problem. To do this, do your homework. Survey people to see if your identified problem really is a problem, search out comparable products, and finally, test your app before a full launch.

  • What is your objective with your product?

This final question lets you plan a strategy to solve your users’ problems with your app. First, think about what you want your users’ experience to be with your product, and only then consider the features that you might build to fit into your experience.

Source: Nielsen

Product thinking is a strategic planning tool that can help you make apps that matter. Ciklum’s App Development Service can be your partner from planning to roll out. Ciklum will ensure your app is a problem-solver, contact us to enrich your User Experience today.