Day 0: What does product design truly mean to me?

28 Jun 2023

Work hours: 2hrs

Every side project presents an opportunity for personal growth and improvement. While this particular side project may seem ordinary—a website redesign—it carries profound meaning. It's not just about creating an impressive website (although that's still a goal); my main drive is to answer a deeply personal question: What does product design truly mean to me?

What makes a product designer great?

In today's digital-focused world, designing for software differs from traditional physical product design. Since my junior year in college, I've been tirelessly searching for the essence of designing digital experience. However, I haven't yet discovered a compelling idea that defines exceptional product or UX design. This pursuit holds immense significance to me as I believe that establishing my own design philosophy will guide me through various design projects, propelling me to new heights as a product designer and setting me apart from my peers.

My honest perspective on the role of a product designer

If you're a product designer, you might have differing opinions on some of my thoughts.

In my opinion, working as a product or UX designer doesn't quite give me the same feeling of being a traditional designer. We engage in research, graphics, interactions, coding, and even writing. We wear many hats. But I often question whether we truly engage in design. When I'm creating a UI interface, I don't always feel like I'm genuinely designing. It differs from the process of designing a poster, book, or logo. If I were to describe the role of a product designer, I see us more as consultants, researchers, and analysts with a keen visual sense. We transform solutions into tangible experiences, but the design aspect can feel somewhat elusive. Defining what shapes an exceptional experience remains vague, as if I lack a definitive understanding of what shapes a great experience and why one design surpasses another, beyond user feedback and statistics obtained through user testing.

What defines a great product or UX design?

When I witness the abundance of remarkable products in the world, I think that there must be hidden knowledge that sets certain product designers apart. Uncovering these elusive factors is precisely what I am seeking.

Redesigning my personal website serves as an ideal project for this endeavour. It provides a clear goal—to deliver a website (the digital product)—and acts as a foundation for reevaluating what truly constitutes a compelling experience and outstanding product. In the days to come, I will strive to document my progress daily, sharing personal insights, learnings, and reflections along the way.

© Designed by Jacky Lo

© Designed by Jacky Lo

© Designed by Jacky Lo