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5 Things That Need to Change About Product Design

It's strange to even call it product design, but that's what it is today.

It used to be web design, then we all got into user experience design (UX), and now we're doing product design.

It's like a weird game of "let's invent a new buzzword to justify a higher paycheck".

The crazy part is people are still doing things like it's 2007 and it's time to put an end to it.

I provide my proposed solution as well.
5 Things That Need to Change About Product Design

    1. Stop Asking Veteran Product Strategy Consultants for Portfolios

    At a certain point, the portfolio no longer serves the purpose it would were you asking it of a production-focused design candidate.

    That is: if you're asking a veteran strategist to show interface work, that is incongruent with what their value is to your company. They likely haven't designed a working UI in years and you're not hiring them to produce that anyway, so why ask for a document that won't help you make your decision?

    Solution: have them provide a small series of case studies (like, one page's worth) and use that as a discussion point.

    2. Pitch Yourself as a Problem "Identifier" not a "Problem Solver"

    Because companies often don't even know which problem they should solve to generate the most growth. They fixate on a single point of contention, often it's something mundane like "we need a UI refresh!" instead of, "Are we serving the customer in a way they need us to?"

    Solution: if you show up to a discussion, interview, etc. with a 5-bullet list of potential problems to work through, you've shown you thought about what the company might do to benefit from better problem identification work.

    3. You Got Your "Seat at the table" Now Use It to Build the Business

    The collective industry has blown decades of hot air, mostly ego-driven, to get the "seat at the table" and then when they got it? Acted like impetuous children when the leadership didn't cave to their every demand and claim of "fairness" and "empathy".

    Expect to be laughed out of any board room that you choose to show up to unprepared, uninterested, and unengaged with the business of business.

    Solution - Beat it with your crybaby act. Businesses are here to make money. You're here to make sure they're solving customer problems attentively, authoritatively, and with the requisite amount of compassion needed to deliver something an actual human would want to buy.

    4. Stop Going Along With Horrible Ideas

    Obviously working on a predatory product is an ethical problem. I mean just the plain old dumb ass ideas that middle management cooks up.

    You're not obligated to work on something that is going to be a resource drain for the company. It will drain your energy bankroll and disrupt your intellectual and creative progress.

    Solution - Sometimes you have to eat it for a while to get what you want, but you should always be secretly working on solutions that you think and can prove with some degree of confidence will be of benefit to the organization (or to yourself for your escape hatch plan).

    5. Emphasize your magical skill stack

    You've upgraded your skills to the point where you're directing and solving problems on a broad scale.

    Here's the magical skill stack: you can work with business owners to establish a vision and identify which problems to solve AND you can position people to solve those problems as well as SEE down to the details and tie the most minute experience expressions BACK UP to the big picture (e.g. how will this decision make or lose us money? Will it retain or lose customers? Etc.)

    That is what businesses want. Sometimes they don't know it.

    It's your job to make them know it.
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