The ideation process is very important in the design work. We need to explore all possible solutions to the problem statement that our users face. To come up with ideas, we will be looking at two methods, How Might We or Crazy Eghts to generate initial ideas for your design. In this article, we’ll use a website as the main focus, but you deploy the technique on any design ideation as you see it fits in. The goal of this article is help you come up with many possible design ideas. Some will be usable, and some won’t, but going through this process will give you a better idea of what might work. Before getting into the activity, let’s look at two terms of Hom Might We and Crazy Eights.
How Might We is an exercise that willl help you generate ideas to solve design issues by reframing the user’s needs as a question. The goal is to finish the sentence with an idea for a solution.
- “How” – Explore a bunch of ideas
- “Might” – Ideas are possible solutions, not the only solution
- “We” – Collaborative effort
Crazy Eights is an exercise to help you think of many possible design solutions for users. This process may not give you your final design solution, but it will put you on a path to find solutions you may not have thought of without hearing ideas from your colleagues.
Let’s get into the steps of How Might We and Crazy Eights.
Generate ideas using the How Might We framework
Take the user’s pain points you learned from your user research studies. This includes things like your user persona, empathy map, and problem statement. Then use this list from the Stanford d.school to begin generating ideas by asking how might we:
- Amp up the good?
- Change a status quo?
- Break the point-of-view into pieces?
Amp up the good – start by asking, what did the research show? What’s already working in the current design, and how can you make the user experience even better? Maybe your usability study showed that most users think that the checkout process is good. Ask yourself, how might we make the checkout process even better?
Change a status quo – what you learned about the user’s pain points. Then create a How Might We statement that addresses the user’s pain points. Think of possible solutions to a current issue that the user is experiencing. For example, maybe the user is confused about how to update their credit card in the user settings. Ask yourself, HMW improve the user settings to update payment information?
Break the point-of-view into pieces – break each of the user’s pain points into smaller pieces. For example, say you learned from the user research that you need to improve the checkout process. Ask yourself, how might we improve the checkout process for existing users? How Might We improve the process for guests? Or HMW make it easier for new users to open an account to check out faster?
Once you get an idea of the HMW, you can take a few ideas that stand out and move to the next activity, Crazy Eights.
Prep for sketching Crazy Eights, you need a large piece of paper or notebook, a timer, and your problem statement. Then fold the paper so it includes eight spaces.
- Fold the paper in half.
- Fold it in half again.
- Fold it in half one more time
Now you have eight spaces for eight different ideas:
Get your timer ready, make sure you have a timer or watch ready to track the time. You should spend no more than 60 seconds for each drawing, so you can complete Crazy Eights in about eight minutes. Have your HMW questions handy so you can address them in your drawings. Remember, don’t overthink this! Write the ideas down as fast as they come to you.
After sketching out eight ideas on paper, it’s a good idea to write a short description for each sketch. This will make it easier to collect the ideas and summarize them for presentation. When you do the Crazy Eights exercise with a team, you’ll often have the opportunity to present your best ideas. Receiving feedback from other members of the team will help generate even more creative thinking! Here’s an example of a description you might use:
Users can see the total price of their purchase in a fixed module located at the bottom of the page. The advantage is that they can scroll through the full list of products inside their cart, which makes the shopping process faster and easier. This was one of the user’s needs they wanted addressed.
To learn more on HMW and Crazy Eights:
- How Might We Questions by Stanford University d.school