Product-market-fit. These three words will change your approach to design. They’ll leave you puzzled, and at the same time so empowered. It’s not just for product leaders and managers. Read on to know why every designer needs to know this.

The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali
The Persistence of Memory by Salvador Dali

You may have heard about many products that connected with the people, and spread and made it big despite having — so to say ‘poor designs’, or not much visual design at all. Think Twitter, Facebook, Google, Youtube. You know where they are now. It makes you wonder, what then IS the value of design. If those products can deliver value to people without much design, why do we need design at all. Are our skills in jeopardy. What is the real skill to learn here. If you’re not wondering, it’s a good time to start.

It was a troubling thought for a while, till I found my answer. …

As designers we need to evaluate our processes & workflows of creating designs to make it more efficient and delightful for ourselves. The way we solve problems for other people through design, we should do the same for ourselves. Identifying the areas which can be made efficient and creating /sharpening the tools that make our work easier is one of the ways to do that.

It’s been a while that I’ve been using Sketch and I saw myself repeating or spending too much time on some daily tasks because of manual effort. Sketch and its plugins are a great help because they enhance the tool the way I want to use it. I can pick solutions created by others or create my own. …

Since Sketch provides a simple method to implement pixel perfect designs for interfaces, it is also important to use it in a way that the files can be accessed by collaborating designers and developers without any difficulty. The method of using various elements like text boxes, groups, symbols, layers, spacing etc… can make a lot of difference to the collaboration process.

Here’s a quick snapshot for all the things you should avoid, to create designs that are easier to understand and faster to code. Read further to know each point in detail.

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Text boxes

Avoid : manually adding height for the text boxes. Let the content decide the height of the text box.
Why : extra text height when not required messes up with other layers. And it either makes it hard to know the distance between different layers or gives an incorrect information. …

Design makes stuff. Design is also about breaking the stuff. Or should I say, breaking stuff is an essential part of design.

Designs have a specifications part in it which guide the developers how to navigate through the designs and build it exactly the way it was conceptualised. Once a software product gets designed and developed, it goes through QA or testing to make sure that the product was built the way it was intended. In software industry there are separate teams who carry out this part but I, being a designer, have had the opportunity to be a part of this process and witness the wreckage of product and its design myself. Testing is important so that the faulty parts of the product can be fixed before our users can reach there.

At ColoredCow we are partnering with an organisation to digitise their homegrown project management process. It’s not just about automating their processes, it is about increasing their organisation capacity to deliver many more projects, much more efficiently than they do without a software product. It is to increase their scale and resulting impact. The intervention product needs to be designed in a way that enables them to achieve the vision.

To design the product in a way that would achieve the vision or solve the problem effectively, it has to be built around the behaviours of the users. …

The intent of this article isn’t to teach design to developers(no harm if you want to learn though. I leave it upto you completely). The idea is to see the designs in a way that it becomes more friendly to you rather than a mysterious object that you need to struggle with. By understanding the pattern of what the design team has presented to you, you’ll be much better equipped to work with it. More often than not, just by seeing the design in its broken down, simple components, you’ll be able to approach it with an unmatched clarity. It will make the design much more meaningful to you. You’ll be able to appreciate what went into creating it and with that insight you can approach it with much greater effectiveness. Maybe you won’ t have any more rounds with the QA. …

The perfect world of software development would involve a handing off of designs to developers such that there are no feedback/QA rounds for UI. The developed interface would be the final one — ready to be used by the end users. This would reduce a lot of waste of time, money, effort both physical and emotional, required in going back and forth in converting designs to useable products.

There’s a lot that the design tools have automated, making it easier for designers and developers to collaborate over the creation of desired products. A lot of the friction due to bulky design hand off processes has been reduced — whether it is to create images & icons of proper sizes, include layout measurements of spacing and sizing, providing definitive guidelines for how the interactive UI elements will work. However, there remains some areas which can be further made better to attain a smoother design implementation. This can happen by understanding why the gaps arise before jumping to solutions and setting processes or checklists around it. Although, processes and checklists help but they probably will lead to further checklists if the behavioural part is not corrected first. …

Client interactions are really important touch points for my work. It helps me to confirm my understanding and get feedback from them by converting thoughts into tangible and usable form, to give direction to the final outcome, and to form an alliance between their expectation and my delivery. Today started with a client interaction to go over the progress of the product I have been designed for them for the past 4 weeks. …

In response to :)

I believe it will be safe to assume that the company is in early stages? of what could be an agency/business that develops product for other companies or, your own product idea for a startup.

The method for reviewing portfolios and picking the product designer may vary based on the vision you have for the company and the decisions you’re making for the company related to culture, growth, future, or immediate need. Knowing your own position will help in finding the right product designer who may support not just with designing the product but each step of the way while designing your business. Once you have a really good hold of the stand of your company and its vision, the questions will ask themselves and the portfolio judgement will happen through a blink. I don’t think one can rely on a fixed set of portfolio review resources or fixed questions to find if the designer was a right fit. The final call will more or less be through an experience of having worked with them, with an inclination towards someone who you’d enjoy working with. …

All startups are built on the idea of solving a problem. The founders seem to be where that problem which they endeavor to solve, was. They were affected by the problem and they were sensitive enough to see that others were too. They were motivated enough to solve it for themselves and then make the solution available for others. They build application or software to execute the solution. These solutions seem to work for a while, it gathers traction but then they fail after operating for some time in the market.

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Despite the application and software being built on the core principle of human-centered design(HCD), they fail. This human-centered approach means that the product arises from a human need/problem. I make it sound like it is very essential for the product to arise from a real human need and I assure you, it’s the truth. When the application is built, it begins to solve that problem. But when one major, conspicuous problem is solved, that’s not the end for the founder or the application. It’s only a small win, a major part of the iceberg still hides below the water which only rises as the tip melts away. …



Head full of design | Heart for putting it in the world. Currently heading design at a software development company, ColoredCow.

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