Product vs. Design

Product vs. Design

产品VS设计

The last note discussed the different types of user interface design, interaction design and visual design and tried to make the point that both are required for a good user experience. But the response surprised me. So many people wrote to me to complain that their company essentially doesn’t do either type of design, and they know their product suffers for it. Most said that the UI engineers just did whatever they could and that was the design. Sometimes the product managers waded into the design waters and did what they could. Some companies try to outsource some visual design at the end of the process, just before the product goes into QA. Some people that wrote to me said they had no idea what any of these roles were.

最后一点讨论了各类UI(用户界面)设计、交互设计和视觉设计的不同点,都是努力证明一点,就是他们都是一个好的UE(用户体验)所需要的。但是这个反馈却让我感到惊奇。有那么多的人写信给我抱怨他们的公司根本就没有任何类型的设计,同时他们知道他们的产品也为此而遭受恶果。大部分人说这个UI工程师仅仅尽了他们的所能,而这就是设计。有时,产品经理热情地投入到设计中,尽他们的所能去做。一些公司尝试着在工作进程进入尾声的时候,把视觉设计外包,就在产品进入QA阶段之前。一些人给我写信说他们不知道这些角色到底有什么用。

It seems to me that the design community hasn’t really been doing enough to address this problem.  They do a good job communicating among themselves, and there are some outstanding talents in the design community (Mark Hurst, Hugh Dubberly, Alan Cooper, to name a few) but in general I think these guys spend a lot of time preaching to the choir, and that the message about the value they deliver needs to get to those teams that need them the most, and these are the teams without designers. I realized one way to do this is to work on educating the product managers.

在我看来,设计团队一直没有获得足够的重视,从而去处理这个问题。他们只是限于内部人之间的交流,在设计团队中其实有很多才华横溢的设计人员,但是,通常来说,我认为这些家伙花了很多的时间在布道,向那些他们最需要的团队传播他们释放出来的价值,这些团队中是没有设计师的。我认为有一个方法可以解决这个问题,就是教育产品经理。

The reason I care so much about this problem is simple. A good product requires a good user experience. And a good user experience requires the close collaboration of product management and design. This is a big topic, but first I think we need to try to get us all on the same page in terms of what design includes. So in this post I’d like to spell out what I consider the design related roles that are essential to creating a good user experience. Note that I am emphasizing roles rather than people, as it is possible to find people that can competently handle more than one role, but one way or the other you need these roles if you want a good experience:

我对这个问题如此关心的原因很简单。一个好的产品需要一个好的UE。而一个好的UE需要产品经理和产品设计的紧密协作。这是个大的话题,但是首先我认为我们需要试着在设计包括什么上达成一致。因此,从这个角度来说,我必须要说清楚相关的设计角色对于构建一个好的UE是尤其重要的。注意,我现在强调的角色不是人,事实上,找到一个人去胜任更多的角色是有可能的,但是,如果你期望一个好的UE,你总是要找到一个或者更多的方法的。

Interaction Designer (aka information architect, user interface designer, user experience architect) these people are responsible for developing a deep understanding of the target users (each user profile that you are trying to satisfy in your product), and coming up with the tasks, navigation and flow that is both usable and satisfying. Generally, the interaction designer maps product requirements to a design represented by wireframes, and passes them to the visual designer.

交互设计师(也称为信息构建师,UI设计师,UE构建师),他们的职责就是要对目标用户(你努力在产品中要满足的每一个用户的轮廓)有深入的认知,提出可用和可信的任务、方向和流程。通常来说,交互设计师以线框绘制针对设计的产品需求,然后把成果传递给视觉设计师。

Visual Designer (aka graphic designer) these people put the flesh on the wireframe and create the actual pages and user interface look and feel, which includes everything from the precise layout, colors, and fonts, but more importantly, the visual design communicates and evokes emotion in the product (which is far more important than you may think).

视觉设计师(也称为图形设计师),他们基于线框使其丰满,构建现实的页面和可看到和感觉的UI,包括精确的图层、颜色和字体,但是更重要的是,视觉设计师要在你的产品中传达和激发情感(这要比你想的重要的多)。

Rapid Prototyper this a special breed of developer that loves to explore product concepts. Rather than focusing on the issues of creating commercial software that is robust, scalable, and high-performance, these people create is posable software the lifespan of the prototype may be less than a day the purpose is to quickly try out an idea by creating something that simulates the intended user experience.

快速原型师,这是一支喜欢探究产品概念的特殊的开发人员。他们所关注的不是构建一个强劲的、可扩展的和高性能的商业软件,而是在很短的时间内创建一个软件的原型生命周期,目的是快速地找到一种能够模拟既定UE的方法。

Usability Tester (aka human factors engineer, usability engineer, usability researcher) this person specializes in evaluating whether the prototype allows a given user to easily achieve his objectives.  It includes recruiting appropriate test subjects, administering the tests, evaluating the results, and recommending alternatives.

可用性测试人员(也称为人机工程师,可用性工程师,可用性研究人员),他们致力于评估原型是否能够让用户容易地实现他的目的。这个工作包括招募合适的测试者,管理测试,评估结果和提出更改建议。

The four design roles above work closely with the product manager to discover the blend of requirements and design that meet the needs of the user – the idea is to get to the point where the software is both usable (users can figure out how to use it) and desirable (users actually want to use it). You also need to ensure the software you are designing is feasible, so you need to have a software architect reviewing the progress and prototypes.

在探究混合的需求和满足用户需要的设计-这就是问题的实质,软件既是合用的(用户能够知道如何用它),又是合适的(用户确实想用它)-工作上,上面提到的这四个设计角色应该是和产品经理紧密工作的。你也需要确保你正在设计的软件是可行的,因此,你还需要一个能够审视过程和原型的软件构建师。

For large companies, especially consumer internet service companies, you really do need all four roles represented on your team. If you are an enterprise company, and you’d like to differentiate your product from your competition, one of the easiest ways to do this is to create a good user experience; as a general rule, most enterprise products are very weak in this respect.

对于大公司来说,尤其是consumer internet service companies来说,你真的需要在你的团队中有这四个角色。如果你是一个enterprise company,你也期望你的产品不同于你的竞争对手,很简单的一个方法就是创建一个好的UE,一般来讲,大多数的商业产品在这个方面都是比较薄弱的。

For smaller companies, you may be able to double-up some of the roles. For example, I recently was working with a consumer internet service startup in the Web 2.0 space, and they assembled a terrific team of three: a product manager, an interaction designer that also covered usability testing, and a visual designer that also covered prototyping. The three of them worked together extremely well to quickly come up with numerous prototypes that they then tested with target users (in their case, since the site is a sports-oriented site, they found lots of friendly target users hanging out in sports bars, all too happy to try out some software in exchange for a beer).

对于小一些的公司而言,你或许可以将这些角色重叠。举个例子,我最近正在和一家初创的consumer internet service在WEB2.0的空间中工作,他们构建了一个只有三个人的绝妙团队:一个产品经理,一个交互设计师,同时他也负责可用性测试,一个视觉设计师,同时他也负责原型。他们三个配合的非常好,能够快速的构想出很多原型,然后他们通过目标用户进行测试(因为这个站点是以运动为定位的,他们常到一些运动酒吧找很多友好的目标用户,他们对于用一杯啤酒交换尝试这些软件都非常高兴)

One other important note. Many companies realize they need to do something here, but think they can outsource this type of work to a design firm. And to a degree you can, but beware that certain functions are more appropriate than others.

还有一点重要的提示。许多公司意识到他们需要做这些,但是他们认为把这些工作外包给一个设计公司就可以了。某种程度上可以这么做,但是需要注意的是,某些职能是比其他人更合适的。

For example, I really don’t like to outsource the interaction designer role for three reasons: 1) it takes months to truly develop the necessary understanding of the users and customers, and most contracts don’t have the time to do that, and even if they do, that knowledge is lost when the next release comes up; 2) the interaction designer needs to be on-hand and deeply involved all the way through the project, from the beginning to launch, as there will be literally hundreds of detail questions that come up during development and test where an interaction designer making the right decisions is critical; 3) the user experience of the product is simply too core to the company to not have in-house. It is a better choice to outsource QA.

例如,我真的不喜欢把交互设计的角色外包出去,原因有三:

1、真正对用户和客户有了必要的认识需要花数月的时间,而大部分的协议里都没有这个时间去做这个工作,即使他们做了,在下一个版本提上日程的时候,这些知识也会丢失掉。

2、交互设计师在整个项目中都需要自始自终的深入参与,从开始到发布,同时,他们对在开发和测试中可能出现的上百的细节问题做出正确的决策是至关重要的。

3、产品的UE对于公司来说过于核心,以至于内部不能没有。而把QA外包出去倒是更好的选择。

You can get away with outsourcing visual design, as there are a number of studios that can do what you need, especially if you have a strong interaction designer on staff. You can also outsource usability testing, although it is often expensive and I am a big fan of informal testing and the product manager and interaction designer can often team up to cover this (there are pros and cons to this).

你可以把视觉设计外包,因为有许多工作室能够做你需要的,尤其是公司有一个很强大的交互设计师的时候。你也可以把可用性测试外包出去,尽管这通常是昂贵的,但是我很青睐这种非正式的测试,当然,产品经理和交互设计师也能够合作来做这个(这个有利有弊)。

For the rapid prototyper, the easiest thing to do is to borrow a developer from your engineering team. This can work great as long as you make very clear to that person that this is a totally different type of activity, and that he should not try to build a prototype where any of it can be reused later in the real product.

对于快速原型来说,做这个工作最简单的方法就是从你的工程师团队中借一个开发人员来充当。只要你非常清楚那个人应该做完全不同的工作就能够把这个工作做的很好,他不应该试着去构建一个在后续的产品中任何地方都能够复用的原型。

There’s a great deal more to say on this critical topic, but hopefully this discussion lays the foundation. Which of these roles are already covered on your product team and which ones are missing?

关于这个主题可谈的很多,但是这次讨论有希望奠定基础。在你的产品团队中,这些角色是已经有人担当还是已经遗漏了呢?

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