Design Basics for Product Managers

A Product Manager plays a universally fundamental role in the implementation of a Product, from the beginning of the life cycle to the end release of the product. This includes designing the Product and collaborating with various teams to work on optimizing the final aesthetics of it, and to make the product pleasing - whether that be visually or mechanically. This would include working with the engineering and development teams, the sales teams (in terms of how to reputably garner recognition for the product and make the sales process aesthetically pleasing), and the UX Designer(s). 

A Product Manager’s role in design is to make sure that the design flows smoothly and incorporates optimal User Experience

There are some principles that product managers should follow:

  1. User experience prediction. 
    1. A large part of being a Product Manager is similar to that of the UX Designer, even though there are differences between the two roles. A Product Manager must also keep in mind how the end User Experience would be like, once the entirety of the product’s been established, and released. After all, a good product is nothing without the users. If a product is too complicated, or far too convoluted, then the user would have a bad experience with it – same with how it’s designed. If a product was difficult to figure out how to use, or hard to navigate, then chances are that the users won’t be retained, and will either drop off from using the product, or switch over to a different company. In the end, it’s all about how the user’s experience is like. 
  2. How many clicks does it take for your users to get to the main focal point of your project?
    1. If it takes too long for a user to reach the main focal point of your piece, then chances are you’re adding too much filler content. Filler content is information about an end product where its’ unnecessary – thus producing invaluable content to the user. You want to be able to provide a substantial amount of information and details about your piece, while also being able to project the main topic(s) fully for the user to comprehend in all of its’ entirety, and recognize the main point(s) within the work. This allows for a better end user connection with the product, and a better experience overall. 
  3. How patient is your user? Users are usually more patient with utilitarian apps, like banking apps, and less patient with social apps where they want to see the content and value immediately.
    1. This spiraled down from the point above – you should know the limitations of your content as compared to your audience. If your product is utilitarian, such as checking their banks, then they won’t be as rushed. However, if it were content such a social media, which in its’ generalization is meant to be a fast-paced platform, then the content or product created should be quickly introduced. It all depends on the setting and audience. Which brings us to the next point.
  4. Know your audience.
    1. A good Product Manager knows who the target audience demographic is – whether it be from young children, to teens, all the way into adulthood – your audience demographic determines what kind of product should be built, as well as all of the functions that should be considered. This will help you build your product accordingly. Another thing to keep in mind is what platform, or medium your product is being based upon. If it’s Social Media, act accordingly to that and build a fast paced product; if it’s utilitarian, then build a fully secured and functioning application that can garner long-termed usage. 
  5. How fancy is your design? 
    1. A fancy design will definitely catch the attention of the user. Think of a book cover – an interesting and extravagant book cover will more likely catch the eyes of the potential readers rather than a dull cover. This ideology also correlates perfectly with product design – a boring product won’t capture the attention of as many people as a fancier one, but there is of course a limit to how fancy a design should be. This leads onto the next point within this article. 
  6. Be sure you don’t over-design. 
    1. It’s great to be ambitious, and being an ambitious Product Manager can help drive the Product to even greater heights than it could’ve ever thought to possibly achieve, especially in design – but be mindful that there is always a limit. It’s a commonly bad habit of companies, or teams to over-design, or over-complicate a product. This can lead the product to being unnecessarily complicated to utilize, or traverse. You’ll need to be keen on whether a design is overly-designed, or underly-designed, and adjust the presentations accordingly.

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