How do you brainstorm a design project?

Design solves a problem. To understand the problem we have to ask questions. But how do we know which questions to ask? Often times I forget some of them, since there are so many. Over the years, I’ve compiled a handy list of questions that I call a Design Brainstorm doc. I pull it up whenever I need to brainstorm a design challenge. These are not all the questions a designer should ask but it should be enough to get you started.

Below is my list of questions in no specific order because depending on the situation, some questions are more applicable than others

19 action items

  • 1. What’s the product? What is the problem it’s solving?

  • 2. Who is the target audience? Demographic?

  • 3. What do our users want to do? How can we help them achieve their goal?

  • 4. What’s our business model?

  • 5. How does the product work?

  • 6. What’s the typical use case? Now, 2nd and 3rd common use case?

    This will help us prioritize our features.

  • 7. What exists already? What are we missing?

  • 8. What should be designed? Which part of the product?

    (What’s the focus?)

  • 9. What are we trying to accomplish with this design?

  • 10. Is there a design language in place? Design style guide? What are the design guidelines?

  • 11. What’s our existing brand? Tone, voice?

    If none, how do we want to communicate our product’s message?

  • 12. Where and how will people first hear about our product or feature?

  • 13. What should people understand about our product at a glance, and is that compelling enough to convince them to go through the trouble of trying it out?

  • 14. What should people’s first-time experience through our product be, and how do we plan to demonstrate to them its value within the first minute?

  • 15. What do we know already from the user’s first reactions and feedback? Any concerns? What user research has been done already?

  • 16. When and how are we going to conduct user research and interviews?

  • 17. Who are our closest competitors? What can we learn from them?

    What sets us apart?

  • 18. What’s the best medium to express this?

    Mobile app (iOS, Android?), web, print or all of the above?

  • 19. What’s the current roadmap? What needs to be done now vs later?

    Additionally, where do we see the product in 5 years? 10 years? 50 years?

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