A friend recently asked if I could share my CV, featuring bits of current work. A valid question that it seems, but it was one that left me clueless. Read on.
I am a Product Designer, who uses accumulated experience in UX design to create/facilitate usable, functional & delightful digital products. Kennan Cummings has written about a very apt definition for what Product Design means in the real world. This note resonates and builds on it. I am currently working on an enterprise product idea in the Healthcare domain – one which in simple terms facilitates research for easing the drug development process. Here’s a quick round-up of what I have been upto:
1) Brainstorm with stakeholders in understanding their view and any validation around the same. Questions like, “Well, what is the reason that you strongly think that the market needs it?“
2) Speak to SME’s regarding there view of the current process & digital facilities used in the drug development process.
3) Try to source real users who are involved in research – that means finding available interviews, reading there social profiles, their blogs etc. If possible get to speak to some of them. Find what there goals are and what motivates them.
4) Find what is currently available in the market – Competition Review. Now, that is not simple as that sounds. Given the enterprise domain, each of the products you hit have a subscription based access. So for some you get that, for some you source alternative information etc. You get the point. – nothing is straightforward.
5) Document most of this research to refer later.
6) Jot any ideas that come up while this research is on. Eureka!
7) Repeat steps 1-7 in no particular order!
Now note that in none of the steps mentioned above, there is a tangible ‘beautiful’ looking output, that I can put in a CV, blog, dribble etc. Although the steps and the process is very very important, much of it is ‘formless‘. The only close tangible thing that comes to mind is the “User Story Map” (as a result of the process), but even that is not shareable. ‘UX-research’ as a term, possibly describes the process or state of product.
Well, having talked about the inability to share a tangible output, this is a good stage to talk about what I love about product design. It is its formless, dynamic, and free-form nature. A very good term that comes to mind is: “Amorphous“. Its like taking a journey without knowing about the specific destination you are heading towards.
Let me form an example. Its like, you set about to go to a place which is known to produce the best parmigiano reggiano cheese in Italy. You speak to lot of people, shops, experts and read information online/offline to take cues as in where you could find that place/factory. You possibly figure out that there are multiple options to choose – but depending on your accumulated understanding you set out to one particular direction. As you inch closer, you get validations that this place is really among the best. You also know, that there are other existing places, which could be equally or better – and the agenda would be to explore them in time to come.
What I also like is the ‘gut feeling‘ that drives a product designer, in forming a product hypothesis. Armed with ample research and design experience, a product designer prepares the product hypothesis, which then forms the base on which other tangible things like wireframes, prototypes and UI’s sit on.
I am more bothered with the initial product research than the tangible layers that go on it. I truly believe that its this design led research and domain understanding that differentiates a good looking, usable, helpful and functional product from one that is only good looking.
And for my friend who needs some shareable material on my current work – Well, possibly I can give a short commentary about my understanding about the importance of combinational therapy in oncology clinical trials! Sounds little too medical? You asked for it!! 🙂