A product management colleague recently asked me for a concise explanation of user experience design.  Here goes…

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  1. Product UI designs should be based on real-world use cases & customer needs
  2. There are multiple possible solution spaces for any design problem—each one has relative pros & cons
  3. Design assumptions & decisions should be VALIDATED with users (and your sales team) BEFORE “beau coup” dollars are spent on implementing them
  4. This point is somewhat orthogonal to the above, but is important if you are designing a suite of products;  in this case you should be leveraging design patterns & standards across those tools in order to ensure transfer of training, ease of learning & use, and coherence within the suite

This doesn’t mean that Ux design is easy or trivial, or that by simply following these steps you will end up with good products.  However if you don’t follow these steps in your process you can pretty much be assured of ending up with products that suck.

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