Participating in UX Design Challenges Will Make You a Better UX Researcher and Designer. Here’s How
A UX design challenge is aimed to ruffle up some brain cells of the creator or designer and ask them to solve a design problem. The concept comes from the practice of asking researchers and innovators to solve a problem by leveraging their expertise, knowledge, and approach.
For instance, governments worldwide devise solutions to a problem like water scarcity or climate change or waste disposal that allows everyone to benefit. So, where these people are asked to solve a specific problem. Design challenges become an integral part of an organization when they are asked to create a better solution than the existing one.
The ultimate impact of a design challenge is that it helps to deliver a solution that has a social impact. However, it must be noted that a design challenge is different from a design exercise. You should not mix the two.
Because most of the time, when the candidates are given a design challenge in an interview, they confuse it with a design exercise. A design exercise has limited applicability, and it can only have an impact on a small issue. But a UX design challenge is much bigger, better, and requires time.
As a UX designer, it must be your stern resolve to participate in as many design challenges as you can. Follow the reasons below to know more.
Why Participate in Design Challenges?
1. It will make you a Better Designer
There is no doubt in stating the facts. Participating in UX design challenges is beneficial as it will help you become a better UX designer. Let's begin with the potential to collaborate with other designers on the team who are working on the same problem.
As a result, you will be finding a common solution to a single problem. Ideas will be flowing from all directions. You will learn to become an integral part of the team. As a result, you will learn from your teammates, find new ways to approach the same thing and build on your strengths.
More importantly, it will be a great experience being a part of the UX redesign challenge team. Yes, you will get to share your ideas (good or bad, it doesn't matter), but you will learn more about yourself and your knowledge as a designer by participating in these challenges.
If that's not all, you get to share your ideas and perspectives without having to worry about the consequences. Because in a design challenge, you are free to share your ideas and receive constructive feedback.
Last but not least, you will be able to enhance your critical thinking skills and boost your problem-solving abilities. The human brain is one of the most amazing and beautiful creations. The more you use it, the better it gets at solving things.
2. Teaches the Importance of Time Management
Participating in UX design challenges while working in a team is your best way forward to learn time management. When working under controlled conditions, you have more time and leverage to make mistakes. But in the real world, mistakes can threaten your survival.
Hence, before you are faced with user interface design challenges, participate in as many as you can your company is providing. Because when a client asks you to solve a design problem that has a large or universal impact, there is less room for mistakes.
Participating in the company-based challenges teaches you a number of skills, including time management. Yes, getting to the solution is the key, but anyone can do that given enough time.
The real UX challenge is to find out the solution in a limited amount of time so that you are able to build a functional product based on the solution. Time management is not a skill that will help you only in one aspect of life. It is a skill that many of us want to learn and improve as we grow.
Added to this, when you are participating in design challenges continuously, you become better at finding credible solutions. Because the more you learn, the better you are at executing your learnings. This will certainly help in an interview when you are asked to participate in a design challenge.
3. Abstraction to Conceptualization
When you are a part of the UX design challenge team, you are presented with an abstract problem. It is possible that such a problem existed years ago, or it may pop up unannounced at any time in the future. So, you have a problem on your hands, which can be, at the very best, imaginary.
Well, here is the good part. You and your team are asked to create a solution to an imaginary problem. So, you will learn the journey from abstraction (imaginary problem) to conceptualization (concrete solution).
One of the best examples of working on design challenges is given by Elon Musk and his approach to solving every problem years ahead. He is the guy who saw a problem in accumulating space debris and, as a response, created reusable rockets (Space X)
He saw that the world is suffering from global warming and it needs a more sustainable fuel than petroleum. So, he improved the technology behind electric cars and made their universal adoption a reality (Tesla).
Back in the 1990s, Elon saw that in a digital world, where there are no territories, money must be able to flow without any interruptions. So, he created PayPal to help everyone send and receive payments without worrying about the restrictions and borders.
That is what we mean by the journey from abstraction to conceptualization in UX designing. When you are presented with a UX design challenge, you work to create a solution that will stick and make an impact. For this, however, you might have to resonate with the end-users and understand their perspectives, most probably by creating mental models. But, the key is that you will learn to create solutions from scratch.
4. Increase your Chances at Working with Your Dream Company
While UX interview design challenges are becoming a reality, the interviewees will judge you on your ability to approach a challenge and not just its solution. So, participating in such challenges regularly will eventually make you better at it.
This is because more than the solution, you learn the best approach to come at the solution. In other words, the interviewer might be more interested in how you are able to handle the challenge.
What aspects do you consider while solving a problem? What are the parameters you set for the problem solution? How far do you take an idea before knowing that it will not work? What are the tools you are using to find the right solution?
The interviewer might look at these and many other aspects while evaluating your UX design challenge solution. However, if you don't have much experience in solving these challenges before, chances are your performance as per the interviewer's expectations.
Hence, participate in as many UX challenges as you can to build the right approach and gain more experience to impress the interviewer.
5. User Satisfaction
The most important benefit of participating in a UX design challenge is that you will be better placed to solve your user's problems. The ultimate objective to conduct any sort of UX design challenge is solving a problem for your customer.
Because in the end, it is the end-user who will be using the new solution. So, if the solution you have formulated does not enhance user experience, there is no point in conducting a UX design challenge.
Your users are the ones who will finally approve or disapprove of the new solution. Even though you may have created the solution based on your research and user persona, the ultimate test of your developed solution will be when it is deployed for the customers to use.
These sort of design challenges are pivotal to more extensive digital interfaces which are being used by millions of people. For instance, Facebook, which has a user base of more than a billion people. Making even a minute change in the application can have a huge impact because of the sheer volume of the users who will be at the receiving end of this change.
Hence, when you participate in UX design challenges, you build a better understanding of how to create user-centric solutions that also solve the original problem. More importantly, you will learn to improve the user experience or keep it stable at the existing levels.
Any sort of UX design challenge that aims to change the status quo and improve the user experience must be tackled with expertise and innovation. The 21st Century user is smart and habituated to one type of system.
Any type of change in their ability to interact with a user interface can have a negative impact if the new solution is making things different than before. Hence, your motive for participating in a UX design challenge must be to improve user satisfaction.