How to become a product designer in 2023
“Product Design isn’t about visuals, but the output by which it performs.”
– Craig Reville
The BKK Web: How to become a Product Designer meetup on October 19, 2022, at Seven Peaks office was held with a focus on providing insight and knowledge on how to become a product designer.
This time we have Craig Reville – the Product Owner at Seven Peaks. Craig comes from a development background, contributing to multiple projects as a BE, FE lead before turning his attention to design and eventually moving into User Experience.
What is product design and how does it work?
Product design is a solution based on business goals and objectives. To explain, the goals include targets, long-term, no metrics, and no timebox; as product designers we should strive to understand these goals as they help us drive progress for the business and the overall direction.
On the other hand, the objectives include outcomes that are smaller, measurable, and timeboxed; product designers will know that these are extremely valuable, they help provide outcomes that are driven by value for the end-consumer and when we need to achieve them.
Additionally, objectives are created and maintained by businesses, creating direction and a timebox to measure success. Hence, together with goals and objectives, we will be able to know direction, basic information, and the answers to main questions through product design guidelines in the following:
- What should we build?
- How do we build it?
- Whom are we building for?
- How do we know them?
- What value does it bring them?
- How do we measure success?
After we understand the goals and the objectives, we should be able to put it together and create a roadmap, a plan of action.
What is the next step for product design knowledge?
The next step as Craig stated, firstly, we need to look at how we interpret and translate those answers into design thinking, make it clear to the design team what it all means, be the voice and direction for the team in a way that makes sense to designers.
Secondly, target research and data that are needed to help translate and verify the goals and objectives, ideally the data should answer our questions. How do we find the right audience? How do we make sure that they will receive the most from the product? This will help us validate assumptions that we are making and also give us direction in order to prioritize the processes we have in place.
At this point, we need to turn our focus to designing for the business. This is because we have to design the solution in a way that both benefits the business and helps the business deliver the right value to the consumer, without driving the business we can’t possibly serve the consumer.
As product designers, we are the ones who need to help prioritize the solution so it meets targets, budget, and go-to market deadlines based on timeboxes and agenda from the original objectives.
Additionally, we have to create a product design mission statement to help drive the team, give them understanding of what we are aiming for and what we stand for while making this product. This helps the team to see why we have specific processes, what our purpose on this project is, why we’re making specific features, what the data answers, and why we’re designing in a specific way.
Finally, empower the team, help give them the right passion the product needs, show them what value they are bringing to the product and help them understand their impact while delivering the product solution, this goes a long way to creating a healthy and valuable product.
Product design top priorities
One of the main tasks for product designers is intercommunication with clients, project managers, product owners, developers, designers and other key stakeholders. We have to be the ones that discuss the solution and how it should solve the objectives and goals. This impacts a lot of other areas so we must be the first to do this, But what are our priorities after we understand it?
Some examples of these priorities are, product and feature upsell. We have to find ways to upsell the product, upsell the service, upsell more of the product they already have and increase overall usage and engagement.
After we create that upsell and engagement, we need to look at opportunities. This doesn’t mean we’re looking for more ways to sell the same product, it means we’re looking for services or features we can introduce to the user to create a new set of engagement terms, this could be the difference between a renewed customer base of a stagnating one, meaning we no longer have customers that support the product.
Then we can look at how we re-engage existing customers. e This could be as simple as re-introducing the user to previously purchased products and orders to create a repurchase process before creating newer suggestions of similar products to help re-engage users.
How to become product oriented?
There are a few aspects to accomplish in order to become product oriented. First of all, Craig explains that we have to be able to communicate, translate, and coordinate both clearly and openly with your team.
Furthermore, you have to be able to understand and implement solid User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) in terms of the design and processes, lead by example and ensure you can lead the team to validate their assumptions.
In addition, we must have a basic level of understanding of the software that will support the solution, this allows us to think about system level design, end-2-end, how does it work offline? How does it work online? This helps us visualize the before, during and after.
Typically in workshops, meetings or face-2-face, we ask questions that are open ended, key questions are a way of asking a question that provides you with a clear and valuable response. It’s A skill that takes time however it proves valuable when communicating with multiple teams and stakeholders.
There are numerous techniques for key questioning to help us to think critically and ask those questions. These will help us to avoid ending up asking the wrong things or something that you don’t need to ask. Hence, we need to acquire responses from people which includes our teams.
Product design is more than just designing a product, it’s a process, a new skill set, a new way of thinking and it requires fast learning, dedication, and a lot of effort but it’s extremely rewarding. You’ll learn a lot of new skills along the way and redefine yourself and your role too.
Nonetheless, keeping in mind that your goals and objectives are essential factors as you design, you have to consider business first, and the customer comes after,user research, market segments, user behavior all take time and usually as a result of the business engagement.
Last but not least, you won’t be able to achieve anything unless you collaborate with your team, other teams, and the whole company, as collaboration is the key to success that can guarantee you an effective result.
Learn more about Product Design Process Why and How To Foster Inclusivity in Your Design Process
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