Product Design web

September 21, 2021
Branding / Product Design

Randy Hunt We Are MakersWhile on my Peru Trip earlier this year, I read a great book called .

As one of two interaction designers who joined in 2010, , now creative director, has written the book on best practices of product development for successful modern-day Internet companies. I highly recommend it.

I sat down with Randy recently to learn more about his perspective on product design. But before I jump into that conversation, here’s a brief look at some of the big ideas from the book:

Takeaways From Product Design for The Web By Randy Hunt

Note: these are not direct quotes but pretty close paraphrases

  • Great products are understandable (set expectations and live up to them) and meaningful (help people solve problems or accomplish goals) and, hopefully, delightful
  • It can be helpful to reimagine your product spec as a press release defining what the update is, who it is for and why it matters
  • Watch and observe people because what they say they do is often very different from their actual behavior
  • Design flows, not screens — when users complete a task (like signing up), make sure there are pathways for them to continue down (discover new products, find friends, etc)
  • Reward users with success from the earliest possible interaction. Reward what you want repeated.
  • Prioritize the effective over the clever. Use naming schemes that are descriptive vs metaphoric
  • There are no silver bullets. It is the cumulative effect of lots of little improvements that create successful products.
  • Share your ideas early and often – your designs don’t need to be saved for a big reveal
  • Don’t forget about the “invisible features” like speed, security, reliability and support
  • Designers should prototype using tools (platform, code) that most closely matches up with what goes into production
  • A framework such as Problem-Strengths-Weaknesses-Tenets can help the product team discuss and get aligned on projects
  • Big teams don’t work. The optimal team size is about 4-7 people.
  • Don’t forget to prepare the communication for new features (product marketing, support, etc)
  • Be clear about your designs’ desired outcomes and measure the results after launch to see how you did
  • Small repetitive cycles of design-test-release-evaluate drives greater team and customer satisfaction and help us learn and improve faster
  • The product is always a work in progress — never get too attached to any particular element because it may (and probably will) change
  • Change makes people uncomfortable. A designer’s job is to help people experience change as comfortably as possible
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