An analogical framework to solving onboarding UX : Plan a “dinner party”
Problem solving is hard and an absolutely essential skill. There are a lot of frameworks that help with divergent and lateral thinking, pushing our imagination and ingenuity to find solutions. In my experience with problem solving, I’ve realized that some of the best solutions often spark when I switch off entirely from the problem. I’m sure everyone has experienced that moment when a plethora of the greatest ideas pop into your head when you’re just about sinking into sleep.
One very effective way of disconnecting from the problem is to use an analogy as a frame of reference. Analogies help compare similarities, and contrast options. It pushes one to dive deeper, think of specific attributes, events and things to understand a situation and thereby find relational commonalities. It involves higher order reasoning and can be a great way to brainstorm and organize new ideas.
Having extensively worked on onboarding UX problems, I specifically use the analogy of “Planning a Dinner Party” to develop a correspondence between one set of relations and another, and this has truly helped me uncover novel solutions.
Drawing Parallels between Planning a Dinner Party & Onboarding UX
If you’ve ever thrown a dinner party, you know it’s not as easy as buying some food and inviting some people. There’s a lot that goes into making it a huge success. The table below illustrates all the different steps one would take to organize a dinner party and how they correspond to designing an actionable onboarding flow:
Another principle that strongly validates this framework is the “Guest — Host Relationship” belief that Charles and Ray Eames strongly abided by. In their quest to find beauty in utility, they always viewed the role of a designer as that of a thoughtful host, whose most critical job was to anticipate the needs of his/her guests.
So next time you’re faced with a complex problem or challenge, use an analogical approach to find a creative solution and you’ll be amazed at the effectiveness of this strategy. We know that it definitely takes a lot of work to throw that great dinner party or design a seamless onboarding experience, but it’s important to keep in mind that it is always about the guests who make it!