4 Reasons Why It Pays to Be Your Own Product Designer
For you as a founder, your product is your baby. Even before it comes to life, you already love it and want to grow and develop it the best way possible so it becomes a success. You start preparing early to avoid any hiccups.
Part of making sure it gets expert care as it matures is hiring the best people at the appropriate stages of its development. One of these critical stages is product design. The design is so important you’d want a professional to take care of it, right? But what if this part is best handled by you?
Below are the four main benefits of taking care of your baby’s design yourself:
1. You get to work from your experience.
I think designing a product is like writing a book. Can you write a darn good book about the year 3027? Yes. But writing from experience? That’s the Holy Grail. A real story, written from the heart and filled with emotion, will be more interesting than a fictional story.
If you’re creating a product out of an experience you had, you are better off designing it yourself. This is because only you feel the inspiration. You also understand the gap you’re trying to fill. Imagine designing a product for the military when you’ve never been a part of it in any capacity. How would that go? But if you’ve been in the military and seen a gap that needs closing, you’d know exactly what to create and how to design it.
Many products came to life because the founders needed them. Think Facebook, SnapChat, Oculus Rift, Skorch. These products succeeded because the founders set out to meet their own needs and put their hearts into the designs, at least at the start.
2. You get more freedom to customize.
A hands-on approach to product development also gives you the advantage of shaping your product’s and, generally, company’s image in the design. Expertise in design is important. But what’s even more important is the vision. And no one understands the vision better than you, the founder.
The product design depends on the creativity of the individual charged with the task. When you hand over the process to someone, you’re literally giving them creative control. They will run big decisions by you, but that’s pretty much it. Ultimately, it’s their product to design. You probably won’t even work with them closely enough to have input on every detail.
What comes out of the creative process could change the way your company is perceived. Having the vision provides you with just the right kick of creativity to shape an image of your product so it reflects your company.
For instance, as a regular traveler, Lane Petrauskas, the founder of Skorch, knew exactly what she wanted her product to achieve. When she saw a gap in the market, she came up with a vision for the product and designed it as she saw it.
3. You’ll be more invested.
As mentioned, handing over your product to a designer is like telling them to “run with it.” After all, what’s the purpose of delegating? Isn’t it to free yourself of tasks other people can do better so you have time to focus on something else?
If you decide to design your product yourself, you’re dedicating your time to doing it. This forces you to be more careful as you go through the different stages.
Also, because it’s your product, you’re reminded of the passion that drove you to create it. You’re less likely to get bored with and tired of something you’re passionate about.
4. You can validate it yourself.
If you have experience in the area for which you’re creating the product, you know what will satisfy the user. Thus, you can validate it yourself before trying to sell it to the customer.
Unlike politicians, entrepreneurs aren’t in a position to access structured focus groups. Running the alpha test by yourself will help you identify and iron out any bugs the product may have or make any other improvements it might require.
Because she knew what she was looking for in Skorch, Petrauskas was able to test it herself before rolling it out for user tests. It had to pass her test before she could release it. The same goes for other products such as Facebook and SnapChat. In fact, these grew gradually from dorm rooms and garages, where the founders thought they belonged at first.
Handling your own product design isn’t about being cheap by not hiring a product designer. Rather, it’s about being the main planner and architect of your company.
While the execution aspects of a business should be left to the company staff, its creative and strategic aspects should never be delegated. Don’t think of it as micro-managing. By designing the product yourself, you give yourself the opportunity to present your company as you’d want it to be perceived.