Progressive Design

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Be it design or development, productivity has always derived a high-quality output. And to be productive, one has to be passionate. Passionate people always thrive to provide the best solutions. But how? Easier said than done.

#me At the start of my career, I used to categorise designers as a special species of creative people. Though I am not wrong, later I realised that the best designs are never made in isolation.

When design becomes product and product becomes experience, the responsibility of a designer becomes a continuum.

That said,

How much responsibility do I hold as a designer? How do I provide an immaculate experience to my users?

Sharing a couple of directional perspectives towards progressive design.

Design enablers

Being designers, we all traverse through the various definitions of design. From the style or patterns of our childhood clothes to the nuances of solving a problem, we define design in our own terms. And somewhere in this mess, I realised I am no longer a designer, but an enabler. Wait! What?

#me “Coding is not my cup of tea”, the traditional designer slogan which leads to strifes among designers & developers is often heard with dramatic helplessness of being not creative enough. Otherwise, you bite your tongue. You don’t need to learn to code, because there are people out there who are sophisticated with it, leverage them.

We all celebrate the word, collaborative design, where stakeholders (users/clients/team members) participate in our design process. While we all are advocates of users, we often take this side of including team members in the design process a little light. Thinking deep, every great design has to be collaborative. You need a developer’s complete support to understand what needs to be built & to make the experience smoother, likewise, you need product manager insights & drive for a successful product.

Being a creative person and design being solving problems, for the best solution to happen you need to know the balance between what can be built vs what needs to be built.

How to?

Once you or your team identify a problem to be solved (that’s correct, from research analysis)

  • Get involved early in discussions with all your team members across disciplines even before you start sketching in your mind.
  • Ask deep questions to your product managers, business people, clients and to yourself to dive into the essence of the product.
  • Sketch your thoughts and get feedback from all relevant stakeholders inside the team.
  • Prototype and present your design choreography to make sure everyone is aligned within your team.

With these, we enable the designer in everyone, which opens up true collaboration. As it will develop a multidisciplinary attitude in your design thinking and make the solutions super strong.

While we say design as a rendering of the intent, the intent is in fact overlapped with creativity & imagination, business, user empathy and lots of technical understandings (I know this is debatable, but your strength lies in balancing your creativity and knowing your constraints)

Keeping this team collaboration as an important step in your design process will pay off highly.

Responsible designers

The responsibility of a designer is a less practised trait in the industry.

Let me ask you something.

Where do you end your design process?

Sketches? Wireframes? Visuals? Design handoff? Product launch? Evaluate your product success?

The role of a designer brings in a lot of responsibilities to our shoulders. In digital design, from the responsibility of choosing the type, the colour, the layout, placement of buttons to all the details, we design with empathy. Because every pixel we place talks to the user. Design is a conversation.

But we are entitled to even more. We are answerable to the users. From defining all to bringing it alive, designers should come forth to take up the responsibility of providing value to users. That makes us User eXperience designers, because it’s a culture, from enabling design in your stakeholders to taking up the responsibility of instilling life to it.

How to?

  • Pair with your developer to translate the visuals
  • Provide clarifications and explanations for your design solutions wherever needed
  • Understand your developer’s challenges and provide ad hoc solutions
  • Incorporate all the nuances in the product that makes the experience richer
  • Provide a clean tick with the Quality Analyst team
  • Make your product or service launch-ready
  • Once launched get feedback from your users and data scientists to measure your success

Since the product itself is the design and the experience defines the greatness of it, we can’t step back at any stage of the product building process without making it the best. And with the launch, when you realise your product or service levels up your users, you are on the right track.

So in reality, our design process doesn’t end at all. It just evolves with the product. This is where designing based on data helps us make better decisions.

To summarise, art is self-expression but design is a collaborative endorsement.

None of these pointers discussed here are hard rules rather it varies depending upon the opportunities we have. But remember sometimes we create our own opportunities. Whatever makes your product valuable to the users, that is the right and best process.

#meDesign is not a random assortment of elements in isolation rather it’s a coherent narrative. It tells a story. It solves problems yet with the randomness of art with a soul in it.”

About the author


Nithin Kuriakose

Nithin heads Product Design and User Research at Glance, Inmobi. He has helped build, ship and scale a variety of successful products: mobile & desktop apps. Alongside work, he loves conversations on art, architecture, music, poetry, mathematics, psychology and philosophy.

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