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Design Great Products

Lake James State Park

We interact with good and bad designs daily. The biggest challenge when developing a product is making sure the user has a positive experience with the design. To solve this, a multitude of design factors need consideration. To streamline this process, I built a set of questions that serve as guides. These questions help provide a thorough evaluation of the product and aim to highlight any potential weaknesses.

Is the design user-focused?

At the very core of a product is the user. I ask this question throughout the entire design process. Knowing your target user and assuring that they are front-and-center is crucial. This process involves user testing and feedback along the way. Consistent user evaluation will help prevent a disconnect between you and the user's experience. 

Is the design simple?

Simple and straightforward design goes beyond the aesthetic. Hicks Law states the time it takes for someone to make a decision increases as the number of options increases. The more complex the design is, the more the user will spend time figuring out an action. When considering the layout or structure of a product, think about ways the functions can be grouped or organized.

Is the design invisible?

Users should not have to second-guess actions or functions for the product. Try your best to smooth out any friction that comes up with user testing. 

Is this design long-lasting?

This question refers to both the aesthetic and the quality of the product. Avoid temporary trends and styles for more timeless qualities. Likewise, take time to research the integrity of the materials and components to ensure they hold up over the long haul. 

Is this an improvement over past designs or solutions?

It is easy to get lost in the minutiae of the design process. Taking time to step back and compare your design openly with market competitors will shed some light on your progression. If you have a more straightforward solution, you have achieved improvement over past solutions.

Is the design familiar?

New does not always mean good when it comes to design. Most sites and applications follow similar navigation patterns and layouts. These familiarities are not to squander creativity but rather build off the past user experience. These are tools to help make the design better rather than limit. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. 

Is it accessible?

Whether it be considering colors to support color blindness or making features for users with various disabilities, all potential users need careful consideration. Nowadays, design accessibility is becoming more of a standard, but it still far from commonplace. Aim to be aware and also understand what the limitations could potentially be for users of various needs.

As a product designer, the main challenge is creating a design with a positive user experience. These questions seek at hitting that benchmark for your target users. 

Thank you for reading! I hope these questions help with future design projects.

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