You’ve been assigned to design the future MRI scanning experience and you may be thinking to yourself, what did I get myself into?! This isn’t an everyday consumer experience – but a specialized, results-focused, and expert-user driven system. A product that doesn’t just have a “help” section, but 500+ page manuals and week-long training programs. A system that lives inside of, and is connected to, several other pre-existing processes and systems with many parts and pieces. In an ideal world, UX designers get to learn all about the people who use these types of systems – what they do, and why they do it – in order to design and redesign experiences that meet users’ needs. But what do we do when the information available is less than ideal? What issues and obstacles do designers face when trying to understand complex systems? What are some best practices for understanding these systems as a non-expert or non-practitioner? How can we get up to speed and really understand these systems to help our users find, understand, and process large sets of data? How do we engage our problem-solving skills as designers to make the right decisions? Even if you don’t have time, budget, or resources for research, you still have strategies you can use to help you through this process. We’ll discuss 5 coping strategies that we have used to help us solve for big, wicked problems.

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