The times they are a changing. Especially within the tech industry, it is becoming increasingly important to be aware of what goes into making a good product. Product designers come in many forms. UI & UX designers, graphic designers, data scientists, business analysts they all serve as part of the product design team. They are here to help you identify, investigate, and validate the problem, and ultimately craft, design, test and ship the solution. In startups especially, where a beautiful and user friendly product could be the difference between a successful or a failed model, the importance of product design is all the more important.
So, who other than the head of product design at a product we all use, and is ubiquitous is every way, to share insights on this dynamic and all important function in a tech company. Think of all the cool recent Facebook features like video calling, filter profile photos, the recent minor but important change in the Facebook logo, the “search features” in times of crisis and he’s the man behind all of it. Luke Woods, head of product design at Facebook, and ex-IdEO, shares the 3 important lessons he’s learnt while designing at Facebook.
1. Be Bold
When you’re making a product you can take a more bold or a more cautious approach. There are benefits to both and each can be the right approach for a particular situation. When designing for over 1 billion people there’s a risk of becoming overly cautious. What if I make a mistake and it affects so many people? I look at this differently. Because we have such an important mission and reach such a large community we have a special opportunity to make big changes happen. And if we’re not bold then our community might miss out.
2. Data improves design
Sometimes people think of data and design as in conflict with one another. I don’t see it that way. I see data, testing and analytics as an exciting new resource for designers. We can learn more about how the products we make are really working for people now than ever before. Embrace data in your design process and you’ll be able to ship better products.
3. Products are never finished
When making a physical product there’s a clear state of completion when the designs are sent into production or the product hits the shelves. When making digital products we’re really never finished. Many of the things I’ve designed have already changed—and always for the better. The things that haven’t changed in as noticeable ways can always be improved to work better for people in different contexts — say on networks with low bandwidth and intermittent connectivity. People’s expectations also keep changing as technology changes and as new products come to market. That’s one of the reasons we say that out journey is only 1% finished at Facebook.
Here’s another great resource for getting more insights on the design process at Facebook.