Central Design Challenge

Activity Time
8.5x11 paper or larger
Internal Project Team

Armed with the insights gained from the Discovery Phase, we are ready to define a Central Design Challenge. We may have had an idea about what this challenge could be before Discovery, but now this concise, research-informed statement can guide us through Defining and Designing our project with the end goal and users in mind.


  1. Begin by defining the objective of the service or product you’re building. Why do they exist? For example, a health-focused editorial site’s objective might be “To inform readers on how to live healthier lives and create an empathetic community.”
  2. In the next section, let’s remind ourselves who the key players are – who are the top 3 users, employees, or other stakeholders our design needs to serve?
  3. With these things in mind, we can take a stab at defining the design challenge – a guiding statement, which will involve a bit of word-smithing derived from “How can we verb to objective for users.”  An example sentence we came up with for our health-focused editorial site was – “How can we design a responsive framework to create an empathetic community built on accuracy, trust, empowerment and authentic storytelling for people living with chronic conditions and the people who care for and support them” – this statement is heavily influenced by the research that led to this point – both of stakeholder and user needs.
  4. Lastly, define four success metrics for your design challenge. How do you know when you have succeeded in your challenge? Make sure each metric is specific, measurable, and time-based. For example “Gain 1k new email subscribers within five months after launch.” These metrics will give you something tangible to work towards while trying to achieve your challenge.
  5. After this exercise, keep this poster handy, or hang it up. Keeping your Central Design Challenge top-of-mind will keep the team aligned and your head in the right space while working on the project.


PDF Template