Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Existing Product Redesign vs. New Products

There is a very big difference between doing Interaction and Experience design for new products vs doing these tasks for the redesign or upgrade of existing products. My last two jobs were with companies that had established software products and product managers with loads of client and product knowledge. In this scenario, there is much less up-front user research to be done since the feedback is typically steady and a product manager knows the shortcomings and the opportunities for enhancements. Consequently, it is easy to look at the job of Interaction Design more in the middle of the process. From assignments over the course of my classes, it is typically the early research that is lacking in my projects and I've come to realize that only certain, lucky individuals get to do true product research. The discovery of a need may still come from another role such as a product manager or the business portion of a company. But if the product is new, it is the designer and researcher that must use proper methods to discover the use cases. One of the things I look forward to as I move forward in this career is doing proper research on users with interviews, case studies, focus groups and ethnography, to name the main methods.

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