2020

Sep 17 Entering product design – Chapter 4: Product designer key skill areas
Sep 14 Entering product design – Chapter 3: Misunderstanding of business
Sep 11 Entering product design – Chapter 2: Principles over steps
Sep 10 Entering product design – Chapter 1: Silver bullet
Sep 10 Entering product design – Overview
Sep 04 SAR: A framework for concise storytelling
Aug 27 Start your design with outcome
Aug 24 New medium post: Collaboration ground for design systems
Aug 17 Action points
Aug 13 Pulse check: Listen to your team
Aug 11 You should actively apply for a new job
Aug 10 Design systems' area of influence: Service (3/3)
Aug 04 Design systems' area of influence: Offering (2/3)
Aug 03 Design systems' area of influence: Identity (1/3)
Aug 01 My mom ran me to the hospital
Jul 29 Reader question: Do we need to build MVP for every product?
Jul 27 Reader question: Do I need formal design education?
Jul 24 Recognize assumptions
Jul 21 Sandbox for your personal growth
Jul 20 Start your week with questions
Jul 17 Specificity in feedback
Jul 15 Don't sell the design. Sell the business impact
Jul 14 Overwhelming inspiration
Jul 13 The framing trap
Jul 10 Everyone vs. Specific
Jul 09 The blind horse designer
Jul 08 Set the context in your meeting
Jul 07 Let's just try and see what happens
Jul 06 Managing expectation
Jul 05 Low UX maturity company
Jun 17 A simple exercise for career reflection
May 31 The “Coach sheet” – A paper-based system for people management
May 26 Bring calm to your remote team
Feb 13 Workshops can be more efficient than meetings
Feb 07 3 questions designers should be asking
Feb 06 Walking 1on1: A refreshing way to connect

2019

Nov 21 My hope for stubborn 'Innovators'
Jul 18 Five simple actions to help you gain more time
Apr 23 Evolving Product Experience Principles at Bukalapak
Mar 09 A framework to give better design feedback: Analyze, Discuss, Suggest
Jan 28 Making a decision is hard, here's my rule of thumb

2018

Dec 04 Essential skills for Product Designers
Nov 16 Quick life update
Nov 06 Things I learned from working at Shopify
Oct 15 About design critique
Sep 17 Common icon design problems you should avoid
Sep 06 Preface: Welcome to yellowstroke.com

Sep 17, 2020

Entering product design – Chapter 4: Product designer key skill areas

Have you ever wonder what area to improve as a product designer?

I want to introduce the key skill areas of what makes a product designer. I will refer to throughout the series. Using this model, we’ll explore how a product designer can improve. It consists of five areas: Creative mindset, framework thinking, craftsmanship, collaboration, communication.

I’d argue that the strong product designer must 1) have a creative mindset to guide their actions and attitudes, 2) expanding framework thinking to structurize thinking and connect the dots, 3) have a strong craftmanship to produce artifacts, 4) able to collaborate so your team can move as a unit, and 5) be an excellent communicator to articulate your decision or thinking.

Key skill areas for product designers


You can refer to this model to plan on which area you’re interested in improving, which I will unpack and dive deeper into each skill area.

The stronger the product designer in these five areas, the bigger the influence area would be and, eventually, to solve more complex problems than before.


Creative mindset

The first area will be the creative mindset – that is, a perspective a product designer has toward a specific condition and respond it with the proper attitude.

For example: whether the product designer can adapt in the environment, comfortable navigating through ambiguity, the eagerness to learn from the mistakes, or how persistence she will be in the situation.

A creative mindset is what sets a senior product designer apart from a junior product designer. When a product designer has this creative mindset, she will be able to have the proper attitude, which will help her grow other skill areas continuously.

There are many mindsets we will uncover as we go in this series. In the first chapter, we touched that a strong product designer doesn’t think linearly in the sense of steps to give you an example.

Framework thinking

After you work as a product designer, you will realize how messy the process to build and iterate a product or an experience for a customer.

That’s why framework thinking is essential – that is the ability to analyze and synthesize the information, assess your own thinking, and connect them together with your team.

The more framework you’re exposed, the more abstract or complex problem you can.

The strong designer will not only understand the framework but able to apply it practically with the right tools or techniques. On top of that, I always observe the strong product designer is not only exposing themself to the design-specific frameworks but also absorbing frameworks from the other discipline, such as product, tech, or business.

The more lenses you have, the more you can see.

When you observe yourself struggle to have an abstract discussion, it is one indication that you want to consider to improve this area.

Collaboration

Collaboration is the ability to move with the team toward the desired outcome as a unit. The collaborative product designer can take a wide multidisciplinary perspective to bring alignment to the team so that they can move faster.

The inexperienced product designer will work alone or have a lot of walls throughout their process. They are resulting a slower pace of working and higher misalignment of the work from the objectives. In contrast, a strong product designer will break those walls. They co-create with various stakeholders or even users intensely to move as a unit toward the desired outcome.

Collaboration can benefit the organization to have more successful innovations or to increase the chances of customers to be more satisfied (Steen, Manschot, & De Koning, 2011).

Craftsmanship

Craftsmanship is an essential area for all product designers – that is, the ability to translate abstract ideas into a tangible output – known as artifacts.

It includes interaction and visual design, prototyping to communicate or validate ideas, or research skill.

A strong crafter would be able to iterate their work quickly to help the team translate their product ideas into a tangible working product or an experience used by the end-user. Most people think that craftsmanship is what design is all about.

Also, a strong crafter doesn’t fall in love with their artifacts. They understand that every work is a prototype that can continuously be improved.

Communication

Last but not least. The communication – which is the ability to articulate your thought or thinking, so the other person you’re working with can get your point.

We’ll unpack a lot of techniques like storytelling or expressing your disagreement. The communication will greatly influence your presence as a product designer within the team.

That’s the overview of the model that we’ll explore throughout this series. Stay tuned for the next chapter!

2020

Sep 17

Entering product design – Chapter 4: Product designer key skill areas

Sep 14

Entering product design – Chapter 3: Misunderstanding of business

Sep 11

Entering product design – Chapter 2: Principles over steps

Sep 10

Entering product design – Chapter 1: Silver bullet

Sep 10

Entering product design – Overview

Sep 04

SAR: A framework for concise storytelling

Aug 27

Start your design with outcome

Aug 24

New medium post: Collaboration ground for design systems

Aug 17

Action points

Aug 13

Pulse check: Listen to your team

Aug 11

You should actively apply for a new job

Aug 10

Design systems' area of influence: Service (3/3)

Aug 04

Design systems' area of influence: Offering (2/3)

Aug 03

Design systems' area of influence: Identity (1/3)

Aug 01

My mom ran me to the hospital

Jul 29

Reader question: Do we need to build MVP for every product?

Jul 27

Reader question: Do I need formal design education?

Jul 24

Recognize assumptions

Jul 21

Sandbox for your personal growth

Jul 20

Start your week with questions

Jul 17

Specificity in feedback

Jul 15

Don't sell the design. Sell the business impact

Jul 14

Overwhelming inspiration

Jul 13

The framing trap

Jul 10

Everyone vs. Specific

Jul 09

The blind horse designer

Jul 08

Set the context in your meeting

Jul 07

Let's just try and see what happens

Jul 06

Managing expectation

Jul 05

Low UX maturity company

Jun 17

A simple exercise for career reflection

May 31

The “Coach sheet” – A paper-based system for people management

May 26

Bring calm to your remote team

Feb 13

Workshops can be more efficient than meetings

Feb 07

3 questions designers should be asking

Feb 06

Walking 1on1: A refreshing way to connect

2019

Nov 21

My hope for stubborn 'Innovators'

Jul 18

Five simple actions to help you gain more time

Apr 23

Evolving Product Experience Principles at Bukalapak

Mar 09

A framework to give better design feedback: Analyze, Discuss, Suggest

Jan 28

Making a decision is hard, here's my rule of thumb

2018

Dec 04

Essential skills for Product Designers

Nov 16

Quick life update

Nov 06

Things I learned from working at Shopify

Oct 15

About design critique

Sep 17

Common icon design problems you should avoid

Sep 06

Preface: Welcome to yellowstroke.com