My Reflection On Product Design

How I think about product design as an aspiring designer. My thoughts on the products I like and don’t like.

Experience is the product. While Customer Experience (CX) deals with all the interactions customer has with your brand, User Experience (UX), on the other hand, deals with people interacting with your product and the experience they receive from that interaction.

What really attracts me to product design is the thinking behind a product, from user's decision making to problem solving. It requires me to have empathy with user, create a human-centered product which is useful, usable and desirable. After 3 years working in the aviation industry and dealing with lots of passengers, I’ve learned that people will only remember how you make them feel. The same goes for a product.

What makes a product good vs. great?

“The difference between a good and great product is the last 10%. Everyone has the same 90%…the same core features and similar pricing and a similar story. But that last 10% is the real differentiator. It is the part that separates you from your competitors. It’s the blood, sweat, and tears of detail. And it might take 50% of your time. But time is not what you’re measuring…you’re measuring the difference between good and great.” Joshua Porter

Product design is not only about solving the existing problems, but also solving the problems people haven’t identified yet. Designers themselves should have deep understanding about user and their needs, abilities and limitations in order to give them more than just a solution to the problem. When we put two good products with same functions together, what makes a product better than its competitor should be how user feels about it. If it’s easy to use, user needs it and it sparks joy, this is definitely the great product we are looking for.

“Don't make me think”

It seems like camera and phone are not rivals, but they gradually are as more and more phones become smarter with better camera and AI technology. I remember I once traveled with a DSLR camera and my phone. On the first day, I brought the camera with me, it took most space in my bag. After I got back, I saw my photos were not really nice. Most pictures I took with the camera had a depth but the color was not as good as the one I took with my phone at the same angle. Afterward, I only had my phone with me. I believe most people who are not a pro like me will definitely pick a lightweight phone instead of spending time learning how to operate a heavy camera.

Another example. I used a banking app from bank A because my salary was automatically transferred into it, meaning that I had no choice but to use them. Their app had lagging issue that annoyed me many times. Moreover, the CTA confused me with excess words and a lack of color to indicate which button I should press. It was really annoying, that’s why I stopped using their service last year.

“What makes people passionate, pure and simple, is great experiences. If they have great experience with your service, they’re going to be passionate about your brand, they’re going to be committed to it.” Jesse James Garrett

The product I don't want to live without

I want to nominate Alarmy for nonstop serving me in the past 3 years. I'm a heavy sleeper who is not easy waking up when sleeping. When I was a a kid, I got wake-up call from my grandma. Later when I started university in another city, I had to live on my own. Since then waking up early in the morning was a nightmare for me and I missed a lot of morning class because I missed the alarm. 3 years ago, I came across Alarmy, which was then becoming my life saver. Why do I say so? Because the app offers various options based on how serious you want it to wake you up. Super loud ringtones as if there's an emergency, backup sound in case you are unresponsive, time pressure that reads you the time every minute you turn it off, especially the Mission function where you can choose how to turn it off: type 1-5 phrases, step counting, shake your phone X times, do math or scan a QR code. So you think you can just turn your phone off? No. Actually if you're strict to yourself, you can choose Prevent phone turn-off and Prevent app uninstall. It still works well for me now. I'm so thankful for it, though I got a few complains from my roommates about the creepy loud noise in the morning that woke everyone up when I was still living in dormitory.

In conclusion

There’s still lots of room for improvement in product design. As an aspiring UX designer, I’m eager to solve pain points for products as well as create the ones which not only help people but also make them enjoy using.



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