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The product sense in design

Designers do not understand how their design work impacts the product's unit economics directly.

The new products bring a different category of usability and experience for the audience—the likes of Notion, Airtable, Figma, Slack, Spotify, and many others for the kinds of interactions and in-line operations on objects and entities. The on-screen design are more clean and clear now.

In a tweet, Andy Budd wrote that designers have better developed their product sense now.

I do not agree with this statement about the designers’ product sense.

UX designers are more aware of the usability principles, interaction design standards, and how to plan user-centric product experiences. The modern day product designs are better, at least for usability and usefulness. But it does not mean that the designers have better product sense.

It is fair to say that they have more *customer journey sense* for the customers’ information consumption behavior and their interaction patterns. Since the product teams invest in user research based design process, the designs are more relevant to the users.

But product sense is totally different. A vast majority of designers have absolutely no clue of how a product sells, how their design work impacts the unit economics directly, and how many customers stick to or drop off at specific stages of their journey while using the product?

The designs are better because the modern tools and libraries help them, the awareness and collaboration are better, and they are more open to learn the latest design trends and practices. But it does not mean that they have a better product sense now.

Tweet to me if you have any comments.

Product sense is about the product and not the design or any specific function.

Jackie Bavaro wrote about product sense in this Medium post, in 2017.

I wrote it in 2018 that designers should know how their work sells, and sales teams should understand how the work is designed.

This topic is part of my advanced course in product content strategy, content design, and UX Writing. See the course details for how we can find and add more meaning to our work.

Vinish Garg

Vinish Garg

I am Vinish Garg, and I work with growing product teams for their product strategy, product vision, product positioning, product onboarding and UX, and product growth. I work on products for UX and design leadership roles, product content strategy and content design, and for the brand narrative strategy. I offer training via my advanced courses for content strategists, content designers, UX Writers, content-driven UX designers, and for content and design practitioners who want to explore product and system thinking.

Interested to stay informed about my work, talks, writings, programs, or projects? See a few examples of my past newsletters—All things products, Food for designInviting for 8Knorks. You can subscribe to my emails here.

Vinish Garg is an independent consultant in product content strategy, content design leadership, and product management for growing product teams.