Product design: a promising career

Product design is the key

To me, it’s incredible how many companies do not understand the importance of having solid and skilled designers: they understand the need for engineers, but they often waste time and money because they do not understand the importance of planning and good design. .

THAT modern product designers handle the following tasks.

Product discovery

In the old model, designers received requirements and specifications from the product manager and used them to create their designs. Modern product designers, on the other hand, continuously collaborate with product managers and engineers who work together based on identification (product discovery) By delivery (product delivery). Similarly, instead of sitting down with other designers, the modern product designer sits next to his product manager to actively collaborate on product discovery.

The evaluation of a product designer is not made on the result of his design work, but on the success of the final product; this is why product designers have to deal with many of the same concerns as product managers. They are deeply oriented towards actual customers and the value their product offers these buyers; moreover, they understand that the product is at the service of a company and is able to incorporate any limitations into its design. Designers know that the user experience is as important to the value to the customer as basic functionality.

The evaluation of a product designer is not made on the result of his design work, but on the success of the final product.

Holistic user experience design

User experience (UX, User experience) goes far beyond the user interface (UI, User interface); some people prefer to use the term customer experience to further emphasize the point. UX includes any way in which customers and end users obtain and exploit the value the product offers; This includes all contact points and interactions between the customer and the company or product over time. For modern products, UX includes many different interfaces and different customer meeting points (email, marketing campaigns, sales process, customer support and so on).

For some products, UX also includes offline servicesas it happens in the request for a trip through Uber or with an overnight stay in a accommodation booked through Airbnb.

Skilled product designers think about the journey the customer takes while interacting with the product and the company. Depending on the product, the list of contact points can be very long.

  • How customers will know about the product for the first time?
  • How we want to integrate a new user and we will reveal (perhaps gradually) the new features?
  • How will users be able to interact at different times of today?
  • What other aspects they compete for attention user?
  • How could they change things for a customer who has been registered for a month and one with whom we have already worked for a year?
  • How do we get a user to reach a higher level of commitment for the product?
  • How will we create gods moments of satisfaction?
  • How a user will share his experience with the others?
  • How do customers will receive offline service?
  • What is experienced reactivity of the product?

Prototype creation

Many of the techniques for testing product ideas depend on prototypes, most of which are made by the product designer.

Skilled product designers use prototypes to visually communicate ideas, internally and externally. They are generally familiar with various prototype tools and know how to apply the right one to the current task.

User test

Valuable product designers are constantly testing their ideas with real users and customers. Not only do they test when a prototype or idea is ready, they continue on a weekly basis so they can constantly validate and refine ideas while gathering insights they may not have even been looking for. This also ensures that they do not become too attached to the ideas before coming into contact with objective external opinions.

User tests have a broader nature than user tests. Product designers and product teams take the opportunity to evaluate value of their ideas. Will customers use or buy the product? If not, why not?

Interaction design and visual design

Interaction design and visual design have historically been seen as separate roles. L ‘interaction design it typically includes the underlying conceptual models (for example, a photo management application may include photos, albums, and projects), task flows, and control layouts for manipulating these concepts. That visual design instead, it includes composition, style, and visual brand expression.

Also read: The role of emotions in product design

Modern product designers may have different strengths, but generally have skills in both interaction design and visual design. A more comprehensive set of tools allows them to work faster at different levels of retention, based on context; it also allows them to design experiences in ways that would not have been natural if the two types of designs had been treated separately. This concept is particularly important in interfaces to mobile devices, where designers often create new patterns of interaction that are fundamentally intertwined with visual design.

If you are making consumer electronics products, there is another critical dimension to consider: it isindustrial designwhich examines materials and designs for manufacturing.

The absence of product design

Three situations in particular give rise to incredibly common and serious problems.

  1. In the role of product manager you try to handle the design yourself. I do not refer to the case where you are a qualified designer and have also taken on the responsibility as product manager: in this situation, Does not you have a background in design, but your engineers clearly need a plan and you feel compelled to deliver it. Usually you will hand out wireframe engineers from whom they will derive some form of visual design.
  2. In the role of product manager you do not give the engineers the drawings, but first-class user stories. To begin programming, engineers have no choice but to design the design themselves.
  3. In the role of product manager, you take care of interaction design, especially wireframes, and then you need a visual designer or a graphic designer to get the visual design.

All three situations create serious problems and rarely ensure good results because they do not deliver the complete holistic design we are looking for.

Apple is one of the most design-conscious companies, but few of them understand the importance of talent in design. While everyone is talking about the engineers at Google and Facebook (whose technical skills are absolutely superb), both companies have made huge investments to hire design talent.

If you are making products that appeal to users, it is crucial that you include a qualified product designer on the team. If you design products for consumers, quality design will be a valued feature; If you are creating products for businesses, design will be one of the best factors to set you apart from the competition.

Sad to say, though most of the products for business have a terrible design: Manufacturers get away with it just because the user and the customer (ie the buyer) often do not match each other. I’m glad to tell you that things are changing and that a new generation of B2B (business-to-business) companies are taking design very seriously (and removing the old guard).

In the case of small business products, it is typically the user who is the buyer, so the bar is set at the intended height for consumer products. However, getting your organization to invest in design staff is only half the solution.

Many organizations wake up one morning and suddenly realize the importance of design. They then spend money on introducing this talent into the company, however they arrange the operation as if the team were an internal agency: you will have to take your design wishes to this group of designers, often gathered in a small studio, and pick up the results when the time comes.

If that was the right way to work, we would probably continue to use external agencies. In fact, we need design not only as a service to make our product beautiful, but also to find the right product.

In today’s strong teams, design supports functionality as much as functionality drives design. This concept is extremely important, and in order for it to be realized, the designer must no longer be a support element, but become it a first-class member of the product teamsitting next to the product manager.

Once you’ve got a dedicated designer on your team, here are five tips for maintaining a healthy and successful relationship with this figure.

  1. Do what it takes because the designer sit next to you.
  2. Involve the designer from the beginning of each idea.
  3. Engage the designer in as many interactions with customers and users as possible. Find out about these recipients together.
  4. Fight the temptation to give the designer your own design ideas. Give it all the space it needs to overcome difficulties alone.
  5. Encourage the designer to repeat early and often. The best way to do this is to avoid getting picky about design details in the very first few iterations. More generally, it encourages the designer to feel free not only to repeat a particular design approach, but also to explore alternative solutions to the problem.

On the bottom line, you and your designer are truly partners – your job is to identify the products you need together, and each adds crucial and diverse skills to the team.

Remember: we need design not only as a service to make our product beautiful, but also to identify the right product.

This article calls content from Chapter 11 of Products for Love.

Opening image by Nirmal Rajendharkumar on Unsplash.

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