how to be an effective product designer
Don’t be a yelling frustrated designer and start being productive!
When I say product designer, I am not talking about the visual aspect of just pushing pixels. What I will be talking about here is the actual business of designing usable tools or software to make people live a little better.
Before designing anything, you need to understand — What goals you want to accomplish? What will be a measure of success for the solution you’re providing? These are all that comes with being an effective product person.
So what makes you a product designer?
I think lots of empathy does— with empathy everything follows; paying attention to details and knowing the design principle. As a product person, you need different kinds of skills because you’re built different and people often get this wrong, they think product designing is highly related to visuals, which is not always true. The most important skill you will need as a product designer is an empathy— embodying the problem you’re solving for your users. This is because you will be thinking for lots of people from the business side of things to the consumers that will use the product. You will be talking to stakeholders that involve engineers, marketers, executives, while also giving feedback based on what your users are telling you. You can’t solve a problem you don’t understand to the core so you will listen a lot.
“”If I had an hour to solve a problem, I’d spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and five minutes thinking about solutions.” — Albert Einstein
Management for you as a product designer?
Management skills will help you manage expectations from the stakeholders and the people you’re designing for. You will mostly be the visionary because you would have embodied the problem and gotten yourself involved with the user more than anyone on the team.
“ Designing a product is solving problems, without a problem what you’re doing is art.“
How do you manage?
To solve real problems for someone you need to know how they’re experiencing the problem and the context, and where it is affecting them— understanding the root of the problem by digging is the only way to find the answer to a problem. An effective way to do this is talking to your potential users all the time, your users should not be far from you.
Management skills come in handy when a lot of your users have common problems that are not entirely related, and some of them may fall out of your scope, how do you manage this? Getting familiar with management gives you the superpower to prioritise and structure key expectations. Where am I getting to with all of these? My conclusion is to be an effective product designer you need to understand the basics of product management, else, it will be a hell of a ride and if care is not taking all you will be doing is pushing mockups and doing art.
If you are a product person and are looking for where to step up your game — EntryLevel is offering a product management course for free although if you want the certification you’ll pay a token.
Thank you for reading.
And I hope you find this helpful.