Product design for the web

Product design for the web offers a solid introduction into this field

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After finishing reading this book I have mixed feelings about it. I think it offers a great introduction into this field and it is worth reading. The first few chapter are better than the rest of the book and the only ones that offer a few novel ideas.

The part that really stuck was the bit about writing the press release for the product *before* actually starting to work on it. That is a great way of getting on the path of clarity which is usually a problem at the beginning of each project.

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Here are a few parts that really caught my interest:

Write the press release first

… the exercise of writing the press release for a product as the initial expression of a product idea.[…] you go through this thinking and writing exercise to clarify the idea, step outside of the tiny details and think about how your product could be described in a compelling way to a person who has never heard of it before.

The basic facts in the release are essentially the who, what, where, when, why and how components of the product’s story:

  • Who is the product for, and who has designed it?
  • What does the product do, and what is it called?
  • Where will it be used, and where can someone get it to use it himself?
  • When should it be used, and when it will be available?
  • Why is it notable, and why does it matter to its intended audience ?
  • How does it fulfill a need, or how does it solve a problem?

Outcome oriented thinking

A press release would never say “We have released a new product description page. It has an orange button on the right hand side that sits just below the name of the product.” What the press release would say is, “We’ve made it easier than ever before to preview the contents of a product’s package and made it faster for you to check out.”

…hidden solutions are framed by this more general, outcome focused desciption.Every element of the design should be aimed at realizing that outcome.

A flow has the potential to go in a variety of directions, change its pacing, and be subject to manipulation and multiple interpretations. Knowing this, a designer can thoroughly and creatively craft an experience that never reaches a dead end. a dead end is a missed opportunity.

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