Reflection Point: Product Design

A workstation of a product designer

How did you learn about product design? What personally attracts you to product design?

I came across a lead product designer back in the end of 2019. I was a project coordinator at the time working on the operations team in the technology division of a cancer hospital. We were really short staffed while trying to roll out a provider-scheduling platform to the institution that had a terrible landing page.

My colleague was tasked to create a new look for the landing page (to pass off to a developer) because she said she had taken a class on wire-framing in college. She asked for my opinion and I was so confused while looking at a bunch of squares and X’s on a white screen. However, she needed help so we worked together on her initial drafts.

Eventually, time was against us and we told our program manager that we needed help. My colleague was also stretched thin so I took over the project.

A new lead product designer (let’s call her Betty) had just joined another team and we were introduced late 2019. I still wasn’t familiar with creating wireframes so I worked on paper.

I started creating configurable paper models of my ideas and Betty was equally impressed and intrigued. She asked if I wanted to learn some design softwares to transfer my drawings. We met once a week for about two months to work on my designs.

I learned how to use Balsamiq, Sketch, and InvisionApp to help with the process.

In the end, the project fell threw. On a normal day, I would be frustrated that so much volunteered time and stakeholder meetings went into this project but in actuality, I was really excited.

I was excited about this new world of design and this new friend that I made. I was challenged in so many ways with questions that I didn’t know needed answers:

In 2020, I used any remainder of my time to learn more about product design and how I could apply my new skills to work projects. I’m at a point where I want to do this full-time but just need some guidance and an extra push to make the transition.

What attracts me to product design is the application of collaboration, precision, and problem-solving skills to resolve an issue. Initially, I felt that you needed to be artsy to work in this field but it’s more about understanding user behavior and trends while remaining objective or empathetic.

In that project above, it was easy for me to follow my own biases on why something needed to be designed a certain way. Betty quickly pointed out that my experiences may not always be in line with the general consensus so it’s good to understand your audience.

I love that product design is ever-changing and that there is always something that could be better. It’s 2021 now and I’m finally doing something about my aspirations. Let’s see where this journey takes me!