The Necessary Traits of a Good Product Designer
Happy October, Cadversity Family!
As the winds settle in and the scarecrows start to emerge on your neighbors' doorsteps (yes - we have some strange neighbors), there's nothing more terrifying than being unprepared. Unprepared for Halloween, you might ask? Well, no... unprepared for effective product design.
At Cadversity, we've got a pretty amazing team of fully vetted design contractors who have wide breadths of experience ranging almost every industry out there. The question we often get asked is, "What does it take for someone to join the team? What must I know?"
Well, for starters, we like to engage in simple conversations to get to know people. (That's especially important with spooky season around the corner, where everything else makes us nervous and apprehensive.)
But, outside of generalized charisma and an attitude to attack difficult problems, good product designers - however far you might extend that definition - need 7 critical characteristics to ensure success. And by all means, these are work-in-progress traits, and nobody comes close to perfect in this industry.
So, here goes - if you master the 7 keys, you master it all:
1. You must have a concern for human-centered and environment-centered design.
It's kind of unfortunate, but us humans are super needy. We need to eat well, sleep well, hydrate, produce output, burn a whole bunch of gases to get from A to B - there's a lot going on. Designers need to continuously adapt to shifting human needs.
Nature is also quite pertinent to design. You've probably heard of amazing dam projects, but they aren't initiated due to high fish incapacitation risks. We recommend avoiding that from the get-go.
2. You must have the ability to visualize.
You might not necessarily be a visual learner, per say - that's fine - but it's all the more important to be a visual educator, and a visual self-educator at that.
Everyone has varying degrees of artistry, but if you're equipped enough to solve a Rubik's cube for the right amount of money, you could say you're cut out for product design with enough skill-building and practice. In the simplest terms, patience is the key to visualization.
3. You must be predisposed to multifunctionality.
Any novice product designer can render a cardboard box in the latest CAD software. However, clients ultimately aren't selling cardboard boxes (but if you are, feel free to quote your next batch with us).
Once crazy features become added to cardboard boxes like foldable handles, self-wrapping tape, automated electronic locks, et cetera - there becomes a rift separating the veteran product designers from their novice counterparts.
To avoid falling short of that rift, effective product designers must have an engineering-esque mindset focused on full functional achievement while remaining true to one design concept or theme.
4. You must have systemic vision.
It's very important to think holistically about a design problem. Ultimately, what you're solving is a problem in the market, even if it might not yet feel like it.
How does your design integrate with your community? How does it interface with other digital platforms, if applicable? Is the design equitable for all shapes and sizes of people? This is systems-level thinking.
5. You must be able to use language as a tool.
If I were to look at a single 3D render of a randomly generated product on the Internet, chances are - even with my engineering degree - I wouldn't be able to tell you exactly how it all works.
And even if I were to view something as simple as a Jacob's ladder, I'd be riding on the assumption that it functions EXACTLY like every other Jacob's ladder. What if it folded in two directions instead of one? I'd never know.
As the designer, you have to learn to correctly assume that I don't know that it folds in two directions, and simply explain how and why it does that.
6. You must be collaborative.
As much as people can be annoying, you must learn how to work closely with other people - especially those who tend to disagree with your perspective.
There are a million ways a child could use Playdoh to make something. Same here - there are a million ways a customer could use your design to claim something.
7. You must avoid the necessity of choice.
This one's pretty simple: do not make decisions blindly without researching existing alternatives. Otherwise, not only are you not designing anything novel, you're actually wasting your own time without realizing it.
At Cadversity, we take all the burden away from mastering these 7 traits and pair you with contractors who are already equipped with these tools & so much more.
We hope you found this week's blog post engaging, and we'll see you next week!
All the Best,