Problem statement

Defining the Problem Statement

The define stage ensures you fully understand the goal of your design project. It helps you to articulate your design problem and provides a clear-cut objective to work towards. A meaningful, actionable problem statement will steer you in the right direction, helping you to kick-start the ideation process and work your way towards a solution.

A problem statement, or point of view (POV) statement, frames this problem (or need) in a way that is actionable for designers. It provides a clear description of the issue that the designer seeks to address, keeping the focus on the user at all times.

A good problem statement is human-centred and user-focused. Based on the insights you gathered from user surveys and interviews, you should proceed to define the problem statement in a user-centric manner.

There are various situations where using a customer problem statement is helpful.

  • When you’re aware of a problem. If you know that your customers have a problem, you can use the statement to better understand it. As a result, you can tweak your product or service to address this problem and provide customers with a better experience.
  • When you want to improve your product or service. Using a problem statement is a great way to identify how to improve. You’ll get a deeper understanding of what your customers want and ensure that any changes you make provide them with something they want.
  • When you’re entering a new marketplace with a new product or service. Use a customer problem statement to ensure you fully understand your buyers and what they want from your product. You’ll be able to anticipate their problems before you launch and make any amendments to your product ahead of time.

Writing a meaningful problem statement can be highly challenging. How do you condense all the complexities of the user’s conscious and unconscious desires into one simple, actionable statement? 

To craft a problem statement, start by running user or customer research to discover their pain points and needs. Afterwards, summarise your findings and concisely build your statement using Miro’s ready-made template. The problem statement is about customer problems. Keep any mention of product features or your service solution out of the statement. Lastly, write a problem statement that truly highlights your customer experience and shows how you can measure the success of your solution.

As you move through the Design Thinking process, you’ll constantly refer back to your problem statement to ensure you’re moving in the right direction. A well-thought-out problem statement will keep you on track, help you communicate your objectives to key stakeholders, and ultimately lead you to that all-important user solution.