They say everything is designed, but few things are designed well. And if you want to fall in the latter, let your skills be best-in-class too. As product designers, you should be well versed with technology, production methods, materials and market trends.
Then only you will be able to craft items that are easier to use, more efficient, cheaper to produce and even better looking. For spectacular results, be it a new product or an existing one, it is always advisable to evaluate the requirements and then research and develop ideas.
Besides designing, product designers also take part in meetings and presentations to put forward the bids and proposals for new work. Quite a role, isn’t it? So, what exactly it takes to become a successful product designer? This post will give you the answer by highlighting all such ‘strengths’ that the designers need to bulk up on-
A product designer must have a passionate curiosity to explore new stuff and unveil trends that are taking the market by a storm. This is an important attribute that differentiates those who can make an impact and those who can’t.
Talk about technical knowledge and ability or understanding of different materials and production methods, he should be keen to hone his skills. New ideas should always make him excited and he must work with an open mind. Such should be the zeal, that he mustn’t be afraid to question his own decisions.
To carve your niche in designs, bring out ideas and opportunities together in a manner that isn’t obvious in the first instant. It actually defines the capability and powerful approach of a designer.
Always assess yourself and your work in order to improve your performance. View yourself as others see you; get a realistic understanding of your capabilities as per the perceptions of other people.
It is important to establish credibility. One thing that should be always kept in mind is that the language of design is very different from the language of business. The language of design comes in aid when creative ideas are to be expressed through drawings, 3-D models, and computerized layouts.
But if a designer wants a hold on an organization as a whole, he should master the art of communication, that too across all the disciplines.
Make your ideas flow in a manner that they automatically translate into the goals of your client or organization. And to fulfill this objective, a designer should have the ability to plan and systemize a project through several stages. Be a part of a team and share your ideas with colleagues to deliver remarkable results.
Be a multitasker. Let there be no delay in getting things done. Gone are those days in which a designer waited for his project team to get a solution or to make the project progress ahead.
Today, he works together with the cross-functional teams to make the design move forward and get into the production stage.
Create a strategy so as to enhance your value in the market. Competent designers are the one who knows every aspect of their businesses. They are fully aware how can design be used to give their customers an outstanding experience.
Their sharp minded thinking helps them to devise an intuitive and logical approach to solving problems. In fact, why only business, if you want your product to rule, widen your horizon in marketing, sales, engineering, material science, Mechatronics, electronics, human factors, manufacturing, user experience and quite a lot of other disciplines.
Global awareness consists of two components i.e. knowing how the transformations are influencing the customers and markets as well as understanding the fact that the talent pool for designers is no longer limited to local only; it has become global.
It is best to work according to the context. Always focus on the ideas and designs that are compatible with the latest economic, social and business trends.
Real talent is something that can’t be substituted whatsoever. Having real talent is critical if you want superb designs. It is seen that talented designers are not difficult to find; what makes the difference is real talent complemented with other listed qualities.
Try to make a lot of contacts. Continue with the networking; it can start even at the small level like interacting with your classmates. Your peer group will definitely teach you a lot of things.
There is always something to learn from someone; everyone specializes in something or the other. Even if you find your family as the boring type, remember this is what the majority out there are like. These are just a sample of the consumers, so observe, ask and design for them. Yes, design for the people, the not-so-exciting people.
A skilled product designer knows when to say ‘no’. And moreover, he’ll know how to say no, i.e. supporting his decisions with data, customer feedback or even his own past experience. With a thorough understanding of the customer needs, goals and technology, he can back his own decisions and move on to the next stage rather than hanging on the same step.
It is easy to flaunt the UX philosophy, but when it comes to knowing the value in the context of a product, there is no answer. In simple words, whenever there is a flaw in your product, you have to leave no stone unturned to fix it for your users. That said, now, if you don’t know what the problems are, how will you fix them.
Product designers should concentrate on customer problems to forecast any problems that might turn up in the future. In fact, customer advocacy is the duty of the entire team. Everyone involved in the product is bound to be a customer advocate, be it designers, engineers or even marketers.
Generally, a designer will not interact with customers and that can prove harmful to the design process, and that happens in either of the two cases when he is working on a client project or an internal one with a team. So, don’t think that customer advocacy is merely a customer support problem or an engineering problem; it is very well your problem too!
Don’t be overambitious when it comes to defining roles. Designers should focus on their own design work so that they work on the interaction details that turn up only when a design is in code. Engineers, on the other hand, can contribute to the interactions by providing a valuable feedback and sketching out dynamic ideas. Yes, there is no scope of getting territorial in product design.
Versatile product designers need to level up from the rest of the team. This implies that they ought to be the first one to detect an error or lighten up with an idea. The tried-and-tested way is to be aware of your own history.
To be ahead, efficiency must be there so all the designers have to be careful and not reinvent the wheel. For the ones those are new on the block, a lot of homework has to be done to figure out why certain decisions are being taken, and why the product works the way it does.
Don’t ever confuse the customers with redundant features. Give the customers a simple solution to their problem and that is the best way to make them satisfied.
Product designers who have a lot of experience get a great chance to grow and develop their skills as compared to their last design project. This way, they can develop their portfolio, and make progress in their reading and general design thinking.
It has been seen that 90% of designers resort to Photoshop/Sketch to solve their problems. In contrast, product designers will reconsider five times before passing any feature.
First, they will build prototypes, run tests, examine analytics, interact with customers and set up a discussion with their team. Now, come to think of it, Photoshop isn’t required for any of these tasks.
For once, drop Photoshop and start actually designing products. Designers should restrain from using their tools as crutches in their product design. Why so? The answer is that most of the product design happens outside the computer.
Product design is not entirely a game of visual design. You also tend to think with your gut, but again not every time. Product design makes you empathise with your users and keeps a track of the problems that you are solving for them. By bringing everyone in your team on the same page and building a great flow, you can impart excellence in product designing.
Never forget- product design is about teamwork. It is very difficult to do everything by yourself. The problems encountered are very challenging and sometimes can even seem impossible to conquer. By identifying the right problem, working together as a team, you can successfully beat all the odds that you come across.
To be perfect in their domain, designers have to get out of their studios and get fully involved in their organisations. All the designers who are new in the field, the best advice is to sharpen your skills, widen your portfolio and keep adding new styles in your toolbox. Go forth and let that spark blaze!
For 15+ years I have designed, developed and marketed websites/apps startups in New York, California, Florida and in India. Always focused on great User Interface is key.