Morgan Fraser on the Importance of the “Problem Space” in Design

Doreen Lorenzo interviewed Morgan Fraser, head of product, for the retail startup thisopenspace, in a Co.Design article.

Through her involvement in pop-ups and markets for her personal pottery and textile projects, Fraser found her way to thisopenspace. Excited about the possibilities for a new wave of makers, she connected with the CEO, Yashar Nejati, and joined the company as its third hire.

thisopenspace found success through rapid experimentation and iteration. Fraser transformed the marketplace from a manual testing process in the marketplace to a scalable technology product, using feedback and data to help inform what features and improvements will have the most leverage.

With the help of her small team, solutions are found by embracing what Fraser calls the “problem space.” By staying in this space for as long as possible the team is focused on understanding the problem instead of making assumptions, and validating that the problems to be addressed are critical to moving the business forward. In doing this, the team is aligned on the design goals and there is less time spent on reconfiguring solutions.

Fraser sees an opportunity for user experience to move outside of the digital world and into a physical realm. Tangible, real-life experiences are becoming more important in a time where our daily interactions are so often contained in the digital world. And for communities, Fraser is interested in filling in the spaces, “How do you get a group of people with the same interests into a room together? There’s a huge potential for retail getting more involved with communities in physical space; no one wants an empty storefront.”


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