Making better product design decisions

How to untangle design dilemmas

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Bad iteration looks like a mess of spaghetti, good iteration looks like an upward spiral.

What problem am I trying to solve?

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What’s more consistent with the product I’m designing for?

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How have others solved this problem?

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How would I measure success?

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What’s more accessible?

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  1. Ensuring that your typography is sized appropriately to keep all copy legible.
  2. Arranging your design to feel ergonomic so that it may be accessed comfortably across devices.
  3. Network limitations that may compromise your design and make it inaccessible in restricted areas or developing countries.
  4. Avoiding drastic motion in your interactions especially if it’s not totally necessary.
  5. Avoid over relying on sound unless necessary to cater for people who have difficulty in hearing.
  6. Choosing colours which are more accessible to people who are visually impaired.

How would this scale across breakpoints and platforms?

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Journeys

There’s usually a logical way for people to navigate through products and once you’ve found out what works, you may want to stick to that across platforms. I’m keeping away from using the word ‘flows’ because you may require minor flow differences which result from platform conventions.

Copy

Avoid throwing in additional copy on desktop because there’s space or hacking it down on mobile because there’s a lack of it. Figure out what content accurately describes your message in an understandable way and design around that. Remember that content serves to communicate not to fill space.

Interaction models

There’s a difference between interacting with a finger on a touch screen and using a mouse and keyboard. If your product is intended to be accessed on the web especially, you’d need to factor in that people may access the web on their phone, tablet or computer and these devices offer different methods of interacting. This inevitably means that you’d need to design solutions for touch screens and solutions that will work with a keyboard and mouse as input methods.

Native patterns

If your product will be available on a native platform such as iOS or Android, you’d need to be aware or the native framework guidelines in order to ensure that your design meets the platform’s criteria. The good news here is that you’ll also find a library of native components that are readily available. Moreover you can be certain that if implemented properly, customers will feel highly familiar with them too.

Can people use this?

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  1. To watch where people struggle with your product and find out why they do.
  2. To understand which parts of your product work well and shouldn’t be touched for now.
  3. To gauge how understandable your copy is.
  4. To receive feedback on what could be improved from a user’s point of view.

Final takeaway

Making better design decisions may be practiced and improved like any other skill. The danger of not practicing decision making is letting the quality of your decisions become subject to factors such as mood, energy levels or influence from others.

  1. What’s more consistent with the product I’m designing for?
  2. How have other’s solved this problem?
  3. How would I measure success?
  4. What’s more accessible?
  5. How would this scale across breakpoints and platforms?
  6. Can people use this?

Product Designer and practicing writer

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