Moments of simplicity in experience design

As you work through the complexity of a problem, sometimes you’re lucky enough to have a moment of simplicity. I call these, rather cleverly, ‘simplicity moments’. Moments that enable you to make the creative leap from the place where you are, toward a vision of the place you could be.

It’s not always a eureka moment. It might not change the world. But it’s a moment of clarity that helps set your course.

Rob and I recently worked with a financial services client. We all knew their online process, which supports their core business proposition, was a horrible mess. In fact, it was so broken that they had only been able to address basic usability issues as part of an improvement program.

They needed help to understand their problem, before they could even begin to scope out a solution. Over the following weeks, the client joined us in our offices to work together in mapping out the current process, identifying pain points and thinking about our approach (see our sketches in the photo, above).

We weren’t interested in defining the deliverables, just concerned with agreeing on the problem. As we edged closer to understanding it, we threw a few conceptual sketches together to provoke a conversation about where we might be headed. This was when we had the simplicity moment.

It wasn’t a eureka moment. It wasn’t going to change the world. But in an instant, looking at the concepts we’d come up with, we knew we’d made the creative leap. And the client agreed.

From that moment, our combined vision for the whole project was easy to articulate and sign up to. Most importantly, we could begin to execute on our vision with a shared understanding of our goals across the whole project team, client included.

The simplicity moment is a wonderful thing when it happens. But you have to create the right environment for it to happen. Our approach and thought process means we invest the effort in understanding the problem. You can’t make the leap without it, and believe we can do this most successfully through direct collaboration with our clients.

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