Avoiding diminishing returns in the product design process

An actionable guide for the design generalist

David Portelli
9 min readSep 4, 2019

There’s no doubt that us product design generalists have a lot on our plate. We’re researchers and analysts on some days, experience designers on other days, and pull off anything in between that ultimately effects the customer.

With so many aspects to cater for, it’s easy for us to begin at the wrong place and jump over several steps that would’ve set a solid foundation for better outcomes. Even though the design process is circular and going back and forth is inevitable, I’ve learnt that there are three particular phases that when cycled in a specific order, yield better outcomes. These three phases are:

1. Value creation phase (VC)
2. Experience design phase (XD)
3. Sensory design phase (SD)

When followed in this specific order, each phase will allow product design generalists to set up a robust scaffolding to support the next phase.

Outcomes can only turn out as great as the foundation set in previous stages, if there is little substance to…