What Is a Problem Statement?

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Learn more about the importance of understanding user needs, conducting research, and defining goals and constraints through problem statements.

[Featured image] A UX team discusses the problem statement for their upcoming design sprint.

A problem statement is a summary of a user’s pain point or problem to be solved when designing a product. In user experience (UX), the problem statement provides guidance for the project’s user experience and user interaction. It should be concise and actionable.

A problem statement usually offers information about the specific business problem, giving context and helping to clarify the issue at hand. The 5 Ws can be used to help develop your problem statement:

  • Who is affected by the problem?

  • What is the problem?

  • Where does the problem occur?

  • When does it occur?

  • Why does it occur? Why is the problem important?

 Here’s an example of a problem statement in user experience (UX): 

Users of a yoga app are dissatisfied with the music options available on the app, which is causing low retention rates. The app’s target audience wants either a well-curated playlist or the ability to sync their own playlist to the class, so they have been seeking other yoga apps that offer this customization and flexibility. How might we improve the app’s features to appeal to new and existing users?

Learn more about problem statements from the team at Google:

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