Ask a question

One thing I’m always doing is encouraging people to ask questions.

Asking why. Asking how.

It’s fundamental to being a good designer. We provide purpose and direction. But only after questions.

The questions you ask don’t have to be clever. And they don’t have to have deep purpose beyond knowing a bit more. Getting a bit clearer or checking if you have something right.

A great example of this recently is one asked by Sam (graduate designer I work with) in the cross-gov community.

She had been exploring how we could provide our contact centre with a way to speed up creating reports.

One of the things we wanted to do was make sure we had clear checks that the report about to be created matched the paper form.

She made a quick sketch flow. Then mocked up a quick screen. As we reviewed it we felt we could probably do better.

A sketch on a sticky note of a question and address.

We soon had three versions.

The screens all asked the user to confirm some personal data matched the request.

As we considered the best approach I suggested Sam ask if anyone had had to do something similar in the cross-gov slack.

Turned out lots of people had had to do it. And there were a few variations flying around.

So much so it’s now on the design system backlog.

A simple question and we got lots of examples and research back.

Ask your question. Find out why a process is how it is. See if anyone has tried solving the same problem or created a similar solution.

And better yet, ask that question publicly so you help everyone else too.

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