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DYT 120: Problem Space vs. Solution Space | Steve Portigal

problem spaceIn this Topical Zoom episode, I speak with Steve Portigal, Principal at Portigal Consulting to talk about Problem Space vs. Solution Space, UX Muscle and more.

Problem Space vs. Solution Space is a topic that every product manager or user-centric product maker comes across every now and then. There is a lot being talked about, but I am not convinced. I ask Steve Portigal about what he thinks is the right way to look at user-centric products. The answer he gave was pretty surprising (and frankly, seemed obvious). In this episode I try to understand the following from Steve:

  1. How he thinks about user-centric products and the problem space vs. solution space thinking?
  2. His view on how design research has evolved over 2 decades
  3. The “muscles” he thinks that every user-centric thinker should build
  4. Elaborate a comment he made on an article I wrote titled Getting To Why

(Related Episode: Design Ethnography Mindset and Researching The Problem Space)

Who is Steve Portigal?

Steve Portigal helps companies to think and act strategically when innovating with user insights. Based outside of San Francisco, he is principal of Portigal Consulting, and the author of two books: The classic Interviewing Users: How To Uncover Compelling Insights and new, Doorbells, Danger, and Dead Batteries: User Research War Stories. He’s also the host of the Dollars to Donuts podcast, where he interviews people who lead user research in their organizations.

What you will learn – Problem Space vs. Solution Space, UX Muscles and more!

  1. You’ve been practicing user-centric design and research for over 20 years now. Could you quickly talk about your journey and how you’ve seen the field of design research evolve?
  2. In the product community, there is this constant talk around problem space vs solution space. How do you see the two? How can one develop the mindset to consciously focus on the problem space?
  3. In a talk you gave in 2012, you talk about “muscle building”. It resonated so much with the way we look at “product mindset” here in the show. What are these muscles that you think one should focus on building in designing user-centric products (or services)?
  4. Let’s talk about User Research. In your comment to the post I wrote on “Getting To Why”, you say that “the question you ask and the question you want to get an answer to”. Can you expand on that?

Continued in Episode121.

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