David Cole: The Rise of Product Design
One request I made when I started the new job was to include Product Design in the title, because I believe a) you can’t expressly design User Experience, and b) User Experience is everyone’s responsibility.
There’s another divergence in UX: in-house versus agency. The goal may be the same (usable product or website), but how you get there varies mainly because how you have to communicate product design. I’ve worked on both sides, and my approach to how I get things done is very, very different.
In the agency world, wireframes are deliverables. In the product world, they’re wasted time and money if you can communicate your ideas quicker using a whiteboard, prototype or anything else.
Increasingly the best designers of our time are not working for agencies, but for in-house teams at startups and tech companies. I think this is an important shift, not just for where the work is done, but how the work is done.
Looking back at the ideas espoused by the UX community, I find their relevance to my work winnowing by the year. Many of the practices seem forged in the fires of consultancy. Advocacy is a repeat theme in UX writing, but is borderline irrelevant when working for a product- and design-centric organization. Similarly, when you have internal stakeholders who understand the design process, you don’t need to worry about constantly building consensus. Deliverables like lengthy specs, comprehensive wireframes, and pixel-perfect PSDs are all artifacts from a time when risk-averse clients needed to enforce progress and limit variability. Inside of a product company, these efforts waste time, create politics, and mask responsibility.
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