2.2 Initiating the Challenge

Once you’ve outlined a design challenge, what are your next steps? For instance, in our safe space for youth example, what are some key questions you should ask before initiating any changes? Here are some additional questions to ask youth (and yourself) as you begin tackling more complex design challenges:

Who is the target audience?

  • Who are the potential users or stakeholders?
    • Stakeholders include anyone possibly affected directly or indirectly by the project.
    • For example, in creating a safe space for youth, direct and indirect stakeholders could include: the local youth community, the teen advisory board, families, librarians, other patrons at the library, educational/community partners, and local businesses and organizations.
  • What are the different stakeholder goals? What tasks do they seek to perform?
    • Consider what your stakeholders might achieve or gain from your project.
  • What functionality should any new service, space, or experience provide to stakeholders?
    • How might your project improve something or someone?
    • How will stakeholders hear about the concept or end results?

What are your design constraints and how do you deal with them? Design constraints are boundaries that can influence design directions.1 For instance, in our designing a safe space for teens example, design constraints might include budget, project deadlines, community preferences, and available space within the library. A few tips for working with youth and design constraints include:

  • Embrace the design constraints by writing them out and coming up with possible solutions and workarounds
  • Explain that constraints can be “useful guideposts” for what’s relevant to the design challenge that demonstrate when you may be off-course.1
  • Think about how youth or librarians my impose design constraints on the project without realizing it.1

1: Tips for Concepting: Designing with Constraints, by B. Lopez. OpenIDEO, 2012.