Product Marty Cagan

Great Products By Design

I do not believe great products happen by accident. In every case, behind every great product I find that there are certain truths. Today I want to share ten such truths. I try to keep these in mind on every product effort:

1. Engineering is important, but user experience design is more important, and usually more difficult

2. Engineers are typically terrible user experience designers; engineers think in terms of implementation models, but users think in terms of conceptual models

3. User Experience design means both interaction design and visual design

4. Functionality (product requirements) and user experience design are inherently intertwined

5. Product ideas must be tested – early and often – on actual target users in order to come up with a good user experience

6. We need to test (validate) usability, desirability and feasibility – before proceeding to engineering

7. We need a high-fidelity prototype, so we can quickly, easily and frequently test ideas on real users with a realistic user experience

8. The high-fidelity prototype is the most effective way to communicate the required user experience with the full product team

9. The job of the product manager is to identify the minimal possible product that meets the objectives and provides the desired user experience – minimizing time to market, user and implementation complexity

10. Once the minimal successful product has been designed and validated, it is not something that can be piecemealed and expect the same results

You can expect much more in the coming months along these lines. I continue to talk to too many product teams that are stuck in old, failed ways of creating products, and life is too short for bad products.