Traditionally UX Design has been focused on the features of a product – how it looks and the user interaction. Yet the time has come for a new way for designers to approach their work: it’s called product thinking and it can change the way a company develops products.
The development of features has become more important than it should. It has always been the product that the consumer has been interested in. Features have just been a nice add-on. A seeming afterthought, which should be what excellently-designed features feel like to the user. Intuitive.
Designers need to approach their work by thinking about the product as a whole. If designers can better understand why customers need their product they will be on the way to seeing how the features can add to the user experience. By seeing it from a consumer’s point of view the product’s features can make the interaction seamless.
To get into the mindset of product thinking designers need to ask some very pointed questions about their creation.
Who – who will want this product? Who has these problems that we want to solve?
How – how will we go about developing a useful product?
Once the answer to these questions has been made clear the way forward will be much easier. The product’s features that customers will find invaluable will also become clear.
Forbes has published an article that looks at how psychology can help in UX design. Experts have emphasised how too many features or options can overwhelm a customer. By adding on too much designers miss the opportunity to enhance sales by keeping a product simple and effective.
By separating features from the product, designers can keep in mind that though features make a product beautiful they cannot solve the problem for the user. The product as a whole does that. Features have been designed to contribute to that whole. They were not meant to take it over.
Another benefit to keeping focused on the product rather than the features has been the ability to reduce the risk of making a product no one wants. These risks can be reduced if designers keep their mind on the big picture – what the product will do for a customer.
Thinking of the product as a whole will also enable designers to be discerning about the features of the product, particularly when new ones have been suggested. Designers keeping focused on the user experience will be able to see if the recommended additions will be useful or problematic.
Therefore, having designers adopt the product thinking mindset by asking questions that determine the purpose and ultimate value of the product they will be in a better position to offer up features that make the product more desirable to users. Thus, leading to higher profits for the company. In the end it will not only strengthen the relationship of the team but it will also lead to the creation of stronger products.