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Product Design: What, Why, and How of Designing Products

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We’ll talk about what product design is, why it’s critical, how to approach.

In short, product design is about experience and a process to deliver that experience.

Case Study with Apple

Recently the industry voice has been harsh to the company’s innovation. The devices evolution is certain slowing down.

Will there be a huge, jaw-dropping release? We don’t know. But as one of the biggest companies on the planet we know they’ve done many things right we’ll see them in details.

The Best Product

What made Apple Apple? We’re sure there are various contributions to it, but first we must start with their products.

Period. I clearly remember when I first touched the Macbook, iPod, and iPhone. They’re not only “new” or “different“, their products were (and mostly are) better compared to other products available. This quote from Jonathan Ive says well.

It’s very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better.

Jonathan Ive

You don’t need to wait minutes to start using a computer (is my example a bit too old?), interface is so much simpler that you “feel” you gain more creativity, and you don’t need additional security software to install.

We can easily imagine they cared about and used products they built themselves A LOT — and that’s why they could built a way better product than others.

The Best Support

My favorite “product” Apple made is the Genius Bar. Until it was released and accepted by wider audience, the customer support for tech products at retails was a complete disaster.

Sometimes they just didn’t know how to fix, so what they do was just calling a maker of product and let customers wait for hours.

Genius Bar changed this. Now “tech support” is located at the center of Apple Store with staffs with full of knowledge and experience to handle complex issues.

Great thing is you can go to London, San Francisco or Tokyo to get same quality of service. Furthermore, they can leverage the Genius Bar as a platform to collect direct customer feedback to the product team at Cupertino, and build even better products.

The Simplicity

What we love about Apple is that they do everything simply. They named a phone “iPhone”, not “PAX-503”, their marketing is “1984” and “Think Different“, not “The fast computer with 64MB memory and this processor and that application”, and they focused on only few things that matter, not on OpenDoc.

If you look back, we can see this level of ruthless simplicity brought the best products and customer support to the company. Needless to say Apple became the most valuable company on the planet.

Does it still hold true?

We can go on and on the what-made-apple-so-great list, but now let’s think about if those are still true or not.

Today iPhone, the product introduced almost 10 years ago, accounts for almost two third of Apple revenue. Then-one-sized products now offer various line-ups and colors (though it generates more revenue.)

We’re not here to miss Steve Jobs leadership or write about random what-if stories. Nor are we complaining that they’ve lost their edge.

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