3 Steps to Elevate Your Product Design Skills to New Heights

3 Steps to Elevate Your Product Design Skills to New Heights

8 Jun 2023

8 Jun 2023

Taras Kindrat

Taras Kindrat

3 Steps to Elevate Your Product Design Skills to New Heights - cover graphic
3 Steps to Elevate Your Product Design Skills to New Heights - cover graphic
3 Steps to Elevate Your Product Design Skills to New Heights - cover graphic

Diving into the intricate world of design systems, our team took a leap by implementing Atomic Design in a live production environment.

What depends on designers?

In today's digital landscape, the importance of UI/UX design for a product's success can't be overstated. Yet, its critical role can sometimes be overlooked or misunderstood. What makes UI/UX design such a critical factor? What are the pain points that emerge when it's not addressed properly, and what solutions can we apply?

In this article, I will explore three essential pathways that can help you elevate your design skills and maximize the value you provide.


1. Recognize the problem before proposing the solution

Sounds obvious? Indeed.

And as obvious as it may sound, this is one of the most popular mistakes among designers. Very often we take the information provided to us by stakeholders or managers at face value.



Designers are natural problem-solvers, but it's crucial to fully understand the issue before jumping into design solutions. This might seem straightforward, but it's an oft-neglected best practice. Taking stakeholders' or managers' information at face value can sometimes lead to misconstrued issues and ineffective solutions.

In this scenario, your efforts will be in vain.

So, what can be done to prevent this scenario?

  1. Advocate some time for research and avoid rushing into designs. While product development often operates at a rapid pace, excessive speed can have detrimental effects.

  2. Request the data that your client relies on and invest time in analyzing it. As a designer, you may offer a fresh perspective on the situation.

Pro tip: Organise a brief workshop and invite developers and business representatives. During the session, engage in brainstorming to generate potential solutions and evaluate their alignment with the problem you aim to solve.


2. Test your design solutions!

As a designer, it can be challenging to determine whether users will prefer a chatbot or a wizard, or whether advanced delivery settings should be implemented. However, you don't have to rely on guesswork alone. By incorporating user testing into your design process, you can gain valuable insights and make more informed decisions.

User testing not only enhances your confidence in design solutions but also helps eliminate erroneous design choices, clarifies user requirements, and detects potential issues at an early stage. It is an invaluable tool in your arsenal that empowers you to create user-centric designs.



There are 2 types of user testing: moderated and unmoderated. Moderated design user testing involves a facilitator who guides participants through the testing process, providing instructions and gathering feedback in real time. Unmoderated design user testing allows participants to independently interact with the design and provide feedback at their own convenience without direct facilitation.

Personally, I do prefer moderated user testing, because having a direct contact can guarantee that tasks will be interpreted as you intended.

Nevertheless, no matter which way you run your tests, there are a few key attributes:

  1. Defined goals and objectives. What specific aspects of the design or user experience do you want to evaluate or improve?

  2. Test plan. Determine the specific interactions and scenarios you want users to explore and provide feedback on.

  3. Create a perfect environment for participants. By closely monitoring participants' understanding of tasks and objectives, ensuring they feel comfortable and stress-free, and encouraging open communication of their thoughts, you can extract the maximum value from tests.

3. Build strong relationships with developers

In hindsight, almost nothing impacted my effectiveness at work as much as close collaboration and communication with developers.



Moreover, while working remotely, the lack of communication may become an invisible and very serious obstacle. And the benefits of clear communication are countless:

  1. Exclusion of concepts that will not be possible to implement at an early stage

  2. Reducing the number of inconsistencies between design and production

  3. Accelerating the work of programmers, as they get all the information they need for productive work

The list can go far beyond… But how to use communication with devs to your advantage? Excepting the most obvious steps like getting to know each other, I highlight 3 important stages of communication:

  1. Kick-off. Before starting any project take a short talk with developers to ask about technologies, constraints, or if any solutions already exist.

    Key elements
    : the designer has all his questions answered and is aware of the project's foundations

  1. Check-up / Sync. Once your low/hi-fi wireframes are finished, you can consult your solutions with developers before starting to polish them.

    Key elements
    : the designer received feedback on his solution, check-up

  1. Hand-off. After your designs are finished, prepare all the necessary information such as specifications, edge cases, states, and flows. After that, invite the responsible developer for a meeting to introduce what has been done and give them time to ask you questions.

    Key elements
    : developers team received all the necessary information and all of their questions are answered.

Conclusion

Evolving as a designer is a gradual process. By embracing a deeper understanding of the problem, the power of user testing, and effective collaboration with developers, you can significantly amplify the value of your work. Remember, these practices not only enhance your skills but also directly impact your product's success and your company's growth.

Interested in learning how our agency applies these practices for our clients' success? Reach out to us for a free consultation or check out our case studies to see our solutions in action.

Diving into the intricate world of design systems, our team took a leap by implementing Atomic Design in a live production environment.

What depends on designers?

In today's digital landscape, the importance of UI/UX design for a product's success can't be overstated. Yet, its critical role can sometimes be overlooked or misunderstood. What makes UI/UX design such a critical factor? What are the pain points that emerge when it's not addressed properly, and what solutions can we apply?

In this article, I will explore three essential pathways that can help you elevate your design skills and maximize the value you provide.


1. Recognize the problem before proposing the solution

Sounds obvious? Indeed.

And as obvious as it may sound, this is one of the most popular mistakes among designers. Very often we take the information provided to us by stakeholders or managers at face value.



Designers are natural problem-solvers, but it's crucial to fully understand the issue before jumping into design solutions. This might seem straightforward, but it's an oft-neglected best practice. Taking stakeholders' or managers' information at face value can sometimes lead to misconstrued issues and ineffective solutions.

In this scenario, your efforts will be in vain.

So, what can be done to prevent this scenario?

  1. Advocate some time for research and avoid rushing into designs. While product development often operates at a rapid pace, excessive speed can have detrimental effects.

  2. Request the data that your client relies on and invest time in analyzing it. As a designer, you may offer a fresh perspective on the situation.

Pro tip: Organise a brief workshop and invite developers and business representatives. During the session, engage in brainstorming to generate potential solutions and evaluate their alignment with the problem you aim to solve.


2. Test your design solutions!

As a designer, it can be challenging to determine whether users will prefer a chatbot or a wizard, or whether advanced delivery settings should be implemented. However, you don't have to rely on guesswork alone. By incorporating user testing into your design process, you can gain valuable insights and make more informed decisions.

User testing not only enhances your confidence in design solutions but also helps eliminate erroneous design choices, clarifies user requirements, and detects potential issues at an early stage. It is an invaluable tool in your arsenal that empowers you to create user-centric designs.



There are 2 types of user testing: moderated and unmoderated. Moderated design user testing involves a facilitator who guides participants through the testing process, providing instructions and gathering feedback in real time. Unmoderated design user testing allows participants to independently interact with the design and provide feedback at their own convenience without direct facilitation.

Personally, I do prefer moderated user testing, because having a direct contact can guarantee that tasks will be interpreted as you intended.

Nevertheless, no matter which way you run your tests, there are a few key attributes:

  1. Defined goals and objectives. What specific aspects of the design or user experience do you want to evaluate or improve?

  2. Test plan. Determine the specific interactions and scenarios you want users to explore and provide feedback on.

  3. Create a perfect environment for participants. By closely monitoring participants' understanding of tasks and objectives, ensuring they feel comfortable and stress-free, and encouraging open communication of their thoughts, you can extract the maximum value from tests.

3. Build strong relationships with developers

In hindsight, almost nothing impacted my effectiveness at work as much as close collaboration and communication with developers.



Moreover, while working remotely, the lack of communication may become an invisible and very serious obstacle. And the benefits of clear communication are countless:

  1. Exclusion of concepts that will not be possible to implement at an early stage

  2. Reducing the number of inconsistencies between design and production

  3. Accelerating the work of programmers, as they get all the information they need for productive work

The list can go far beyond… But how to use communication with devs to your advantage? Excepting the most obvious steps like getting to know each other, I highlight 3 important stages of communication:

  1. Kick-off. Before starting any project take a short talk with developers to ask about technologies, constraints, or if any solutions already exist.

    Key elements
    : the designer has all his questions answered and is aware of the project's foundations

  1. Check-up / Sync. Once your low/hi-fi wireframes are finished, you can consult your solutions with developers before starting to polish them.

    Key elements
    : the designer received feedback on his solution, check-up

  1. Hand-off. After your designs are finished, prepare all the necessary information such as specifications, edge cases, states, and flows. After that, invite the responsible developer for a meeting to introduce what has been done and give them time to ask you questions.

    Key elements
    : developers team received all the necessary information and all of their questions are answered.

Conclusion

Evolving as a designer is a gradual process. By embracing a deeper understanding of the problem, the power of user testing, and effective collaboration with developers, you can significantly amplify the value of your work. Remember, these practices not only enhance your skills but also directly impact your product's success and your company's growth.

Interested in learning how our agency applies these practices for our clients' success? Reach out to us for a free consultation or check out our case studies to see our solutions in action.

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💌 Join our newsletter

Receive insightful, innovator-focused content from global product experts — directly in your mail box, always free

Address & company info


Chmielna 73B / 14,
00-801 Warsaw, PL

VAT-EU (NIP): PL7831824606
REGON: 387099056
KRS: 0000861621

💌 Join our newsletter

Receive insightful, innovator-focused content from global product experts — directly in your mail box, always free

Address & company info


Chmielna 73B / 14,
00-801 Warsaw, PL

VAT-EU (NIP): PL7831824606
REGON: 387099056
KRS: 0000861621