Julie Zhuo’s three questions before designing anything

Julie Zhuo is the legendary VP of Product Design @ Facebook. She’s had a lot to do with Facebook’s core design language, evident in the unified patterns of design across devices and mediums. Julie advocates for three questions to ask before designing anything:

Question 1. What people problem are we going to solve?

The keyword here being ‘people’, the idea is to narrow down and focus on a single problem your users are facing and define it with clarity and transparency. If the problem is fuzzy, there is no way you can be confident that you’ve found a solution for the problem.

Question 2. How do we know that this is a real problem?

This question relates to making sure that we are not falling for a cognitive bias or dealing with an untested problem at our hands. To test if you have a real problem, Julie recommends putting the users in a situation where they can discover the problem for themselves and highlight it, validating your hunch.

Question 3. How will we know if we’ve solved this problem?

This is the highlight of this trio: Before putting your solution out in the wild, its important to define what would be a successful outcome as a result. This is because its easy to fall for confirmation bias. No matter how small the data set is, you always find success in your work, confirming your hunch every step of the way. Defining a threshold for success beforehand would help you judge your solution on its true merits.