Welcome back to another Designer's Discuss.
And I'm Aubrey.
And we are product designers here at Crema.
If you're new here, Crema is a digital product agency which means we help companies all over the country design, build and grow new technology
solutions and the product teams that build them.
Today we're discussing what the role of a product designer looks like at Crema and how that role will evolve in 2019.
And stay tuned to the end of the video where we talk about the top three design trends we see happening in 2019.
So the whole reason we're making this video is because depending on where you look the role of a product designer or digital product designer can
be super confusing and everybody sort of has a different take on it.
So we'll sort of throughout the video define what that looks like at Crema but maybe it's helpful to talk about sort of our introduction to product
Before starting at Crema, I never really understood exactly what it meant to be a fully encompassed product designer.
I knew what user experience designers were and user interface designers but I never really understood the whole group of it.
Previously I was in graphic design. Eventually specialized in web design and then became interested in products.
But I always thought I didn't want to go into product design because I would only be able to do one of these things that I liked that I liked
doing all of them.
That's so crazy that that's your experience because my background is even more different, it was like architecture and urban planning.
So it was super traditional design work where you're like using a pencil and things like that. We didn't even touch computers so everything I've
sort of done has been learned but I didn't even know those individual rules existed.
I sort of only knew about the singular product designer role that encompasses all of those.
I still feel like even though you're not from a specific design background that that could really help you in what we do especially when it comes to
planning and flows. That all kind of ties into the first part of what we do as product designers with information architecture.
So information architecture perfect segue into what we think a product designer looks like at Crema and it's like basically four main practices
which starts with information architecture, and then we have user interface design, interaction design, and user experience design.
So that's a mouthful.
And as we already said this can be individual roles so we can break those down a bit here for you.
Information architecture is really the structure of information in a web site and the different elements within it, and how those different sets
of information elements flow and connect together as a whole.
Information architecture is honestly my favorite part of the entire process because it's a lot about problem solving and trying to figure out how
to make a lot of different options come out as seamlessly and simply as possible.
So it's a really interesting problem solving experiment which when I originally went into design I never thought that as a designer I would
get to work with that sort of strategy and what-not.
So it's really fun.
Yeah I think we even like mentioned in an earlier Designer's Discuss video...
like, there was a myth that the first part of the design, like that strategy part, is easier than doing it in Sketch or on a program. Which, I think
we ended up saying the more they're almost equal or maybe more heavily weighted toward the beginning.
Because that is where all that problem solving happens. And if you can get that information architecture right the first time it just makes
the rest of the product design happen a lot more fluidly.
I think it's kind of like a progression of the first part. Which if information architecture doesn't turn out well, then the rest of your
product is not going to work out well.
You have to have the first step. You have to have a good setup. And then, as you move on to user interface design, you also have to have that work
out the right way to be able to continue into the project.
So they all really tie together and work as one at the end of the day.
And that's why I think it's important to have this information architecture at that base level.
So here we're starting with that that one discipline.
So now, like to layer on top of that, we have here is user interface design.
When a lot of people think about user interface design they think about, "How does it look? Is it pretty? Do we like those colors? Is the aesthetic
good? And it's good to be engaging with the user in that way.
But an even bigger part of user interface design is actually making an engaging experience that leads users to make the right decisions and help
them in making those decisions to make it as effortless as possible.
It's always about pushing the boundaries and trying to get to what comes next without recreating the wheel. So the things that work,
don't change the system, because users get used to things like navigation placement and the sorts of conventions like that.
But there are a lot of areas where you can still really push things forward without making it a not inconsistent experience for the user.
And something we were just discussing last week is sort of the the rise of all those these voice control things and weirdly enough that is a sort
of a user interface. Thinking about how you interface with -- it's not a visual interface, but like how you actually interact with these voice
So I think as we might see a move away from sort of like this physical phone screen to the sort of ambient computing devices,
there is a lot to be done there. And I was even thinking like, the original fingerprint scanners on phones, like, how awful was was that to do like
That's like interfacing with your phone and this gets the user experience as well because they're so closely tied. It's like what a horrible
experience that was.
But now you just pull out your phone and it's like sort of a seamless experience so.
And there are so many things like physical like verbal or digital that can all be, I think, considered an interface.
So a lot of things you just covered for user interface also tie in to interaction design.
So a big focus of interaction design is creating a relationship between your product and the user.
So one of the main rules I have when going about interaction design is whenever you have your user give you something, you give them something back.
And so this kind of leads into something I know George has talked about before in videos which are habit loops.
So actually giving them a cue and then a routine and then they get the reward.
And so that creates a really good user experience.
It makes people interact with your products very seamlessly.
It just becomes a routine and then they know at the end of the day they're going to get back something from what they give you.
Yeah yeah I mean feedback, especially with like a digital product, that's flat not really tactile either like a visual feedback in those kind of a
give back to the to the user is super important.
Yeah, I mean interactions can be delayed as well.
So something like when someone goes onto Instagram they post their photo and then that's the routine and then the reward is them being able to get
So it's like you can create routines and rewards in ways that aren't just like click a button have it change a color it can really be a lot more
in-depth than that.
So it's not just surface level it's like very thorough as far as what interaction design can mean.
That's a great point. It brings you back into the application.
And you're interacting with it long after you've done your main interaction.
Because at the end of the day, user experience is about how a user feels when they're actually using your product.
I mean at the end of the day that's the core element of what user experience is about.
So as well as we layout information architecture and all those other elements, if we can't actually have the rest of the team together contributing to
that and then you know on the development side actually bringing that to life,
it wouldn't mean anything without all those pieces working well together.
So in a way out kind of compartments are the same kind of ideas that compartments that bring together good user experience.
We do the same with our team and like a physical team.
Yeah that's true.
So when I was making the transition from web into product design, I had a hard time really understanding how all these different parts came
So the way I've always thought of it is that information architecture is like the blueprint of an office building.
When they lay out an office building, they group the different departments together and then within those departments who needs to be near each other
as well so they can interact easily.
It's really about laying things out in a way where the different flows and connections can happen as easily as possible which is the same for actually
building a digital project.
Then, when it comes to the user interface of it, if you go to a new building for the first time how are you going to know how to get to the elevator,
the bathroom? You have to have good, efficient way finding signage and then you also need to have it in places where people know where to find it.
Is it large enough? Can people read it? If you go into a building and way findings on the ceiling you're never going to find it.
When it comes to the user interface, not only do you have to lay out information that flows well, but you also have to do it in an aesthetically
pleasing way. Also, when you go to a new office building you always enjoy it if it's well designed, it's new, it's fresh. You enjoy those
things and you're going to remember that and it's going to contribute to a better experience there in the long run.
As far as interaction design goes, things such as opening a door:
How does the door open? Does it open like a normal door? What if you shop at a building and the the handle is on the top of the door and you have to
climb up grab it and pull the door down to get it?
No one would know how to get inside.
Yes or what's more is Norman Doors. I just learned the term.
It's the doors that have bad affordances, like they have a pull when it's really a push.
So those are bad user experiences or interaction design.
We have these systems of how things work like opening a door.
And so we keep those things consistent so users know what to expect.
At the end of the day, you want to change things enough to keep them exciting but not so much people don't know how to use them.
And then finally, the overall user experience. So when you take the layout of the building, apply the way finding signage, the aesthetics, and then
all the interactions you have within that building, that creates an overall user experience.
So when you go to a place and you think you love that place.
I so want to go back there.
The new cool spot in town, you know, those sorts of things all contribute together to a good overall user experience that's going to make you
want to go back and breed a loyal user just like the user experience on the product design side breeds loyal customers.
So there you go.
A real world example of a digital product.
So looking out at design trends more broadly in 2019, what do we see sort of happening?
I think a big push for digital products in this upcoming year is going to be simplifying our lives by having to make less decisions and getting less
The way you go about that is by sometimes making some of these processes more automated and a little bit less human.
Now the idea of that sounds a little scary but at the end of the day the goal is to make our lives simpler and easier.
I like it.
So the first thing is anticipatory design and that is really about creating products that are anticipating people's needs in advance and so
helping them make better decisions faster.
Some examples of anticipatory design would be things such as simple as Google search.
When you're looking to search for something it's giving you these automated suggestions of what they think you might be looking for.
So I mentioned it sort of in passing just a second ago, automation design.
So that's another big piece that's number two. Automation design. Now, that is different than anticipated design because it requires me as a
user to set up something in advance?
Basically, the way automated design works, is generally at some starting point you will do an initial setup and then from there on out
So automation design is really about creating an environment not where you're anticipating things for user, but where you're actually setting it up
so they never have to make a decision.
Doesn't everybody everyone want to live their life like that? Just walking down the street making no decisions?
So great examples of that are, I don't know, anything smart home.
My thermostat or my lights know that I'm home. I've set it up in advance to say when I get home at six oclock turn on the thermostat, turn on the
heat, turn on the lights. Those kinds of things.
Exactly what you said and another element of that is really taking this user experience of that automated design and bringing it out into the real
So it's just it's another step further than just doing that in apps. It's actually bringing it out so you can actually experience that in your
So that's sort of like the third point which yeah which is really closely tied to both automation and anticipation is the third is the real world
user experience which is becoming super common with all of the the ambient computing devices like your Google Home Hubs or whatever variation of
Alexa device you have.
So you're still interacting with these things and there's a whole user experience there and if it's poor you you won't use it.
I remember like years ago we had an Alexa device. We thought it was spying on us. It ends up it was, they're always listening.
They're always creepy.
So we threw it out. But like two years ago, like it was OK, it was pretty good.
But I was still pretty amazed.
I like talking to this device so the user experience was getting there, but it wasn't great. But it's like pretty phenomenal these days.
Yeah that's why they're so prevalent.
They're dirt cheap and they work really well and people intuitively know how to interact with them.
So I think there's a lot more room for growth in the sort of the real world user experience there with more of these devices really.
And even going further than that bringing user experience in the real world could be as something as simple as, there's a new banking app called
Aspiration Bank. And they actually don't even make you pay for A.T.M. fees regardless of what A.T.M. you're at.
And so when you go to an A.T.M. you're not like, "I have to pay an extra three dollars for this." Regardless of what HCM you go to.
It's creating good user experience because when the user goes and takes out money they feel good about it. Which relates back to their product even
though it's not happening inside the app itself.
Yeah it's freaking nuts. Because who wants to pay more money on top of the value they're already taking out? So yeah that's that's a good point.
So that's what we think it looks like to be a product designer here at Crema and in 2019.
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