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Design Philosophy

My journey in product design has been shaped by a set of guiding principles that have helped me navigate the dynamic landscape of UX. In this post, I'll share my philosophy on product design—anchored in user-centricity, strategic prioritization, and the art of balancing perfection with pragmatism. Join me as we explore the essence of impactful product design through a concise set of principles that encapsulate my years of experience in the field.

January 2, 2024
3 min read
  • Stay close to the user: Comprehend their context, background, the tasks they need to accomplish, constraints, and challenges they encounter.
  • Understand the problem: While people may want faster horses, our role is to dive deeper and understand the root cause of the problem they aim to solve and their actual needs.
  • Pick your battles: Devise a strategy and prioritize designing for the most impactful use cases and user groups; then, extend your focus to the rest of the user base.
  • Breathe the product: Become an expert in the space by using the product extensively, exploring competitors, and staying curious for new ideas.
  • Done is better than perfect: Solving the user's problem takes precedence, and reaching the ideal solution is a gradual process that necessitates iteration.
  • Take shortcuts when you can: Whether it's an off-the-shelf plugin or a prebuilt app/system, consider efficient solutions that expedite the development process.
  • Build things that don’t scale: This is crucial for validating your idea.
  • Communicate through visuals: This is essential for aligning everyone on the same page. "A picture speaks a thousand words." Sharing rough sketches of ideas can often foster alignment and spark new ideas.
  • Prototype first: Test out ideas quickly and effectively using design prototypes or, even better, real rough working prototypes. This is a cost-effective way to validate ideas and hypotheses quickly.
  • Constraints are good: They stimulate the creation of better and more creative solutions.
  • Don’t make me think: Avoid uncommon design patterns, keep tasks straightforward for the user, maintain concise messaging, and ensure clear calls to action.
  • Design not UI: A web/mobile app is merely a medium for solving a user problem. There are various ways to address user issues, some of which don't require a UI at all.
  • Great design is invisible: Great design should be unobtrusive, effectively solving the user's problem without drawing attention to itself.
  • Visual hierarchy and good typography are key: When in doubt do a squint test.
  • Design spec’ing is an art: Well-crafted specs lead to effective implementation and successful outcomes.
  • Share early explorations & involve the team in the process: Getting early input from all the stakeholders leads to better outcomes and encourages exploration of more ideas.
  • Brainstorm offline: Avoid live brainstorming sessions with large groups, as they tend to be time-consuming. Instead, encourage each participant to brainstorm ideas independently, then convene as a group to present and discuss the best ideas.

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