Product Design

Today’s digital products are constantly evolving, and the workforce is moving along with it. In order to stand out among the crowded market of digital products, products must be designed to speak to consumers with experiences that directly address their values and needs.

This course will explore the product design and development process from brand-new startup phase to the relaunch of a current product. It will guide anyone who is involved in influencing the design of digital products on the skills needed to design the user experience while acknowledging the incorporation of service design. Collaborating in small, multidisciplinary teams, course participants will work on a practical application of the process for a single product.

Janson Hartliep

Instructor

Christy Ennis-Kloote
OST/Visualhero

Christy is a Director of User Experience at Visualhero. She is an eternal optimist with a high capacity for details. Her background in Industrial Design, drives her to seek out users’ needs and answer them in the execution of the product. Ennis-Kloote uses her passion for sharing with community as the local leader for IxDA Grand Rapids and as Co-Founder of Ladies that UX Grand Rapids.

Starts Jan 9, 2018

Jan 9th–Apr 10th
Every Mon 6pm - 8:30pm
Orientation: Jan 9th
Graduation: Apr 10th

Class size: 20 students

Cost: $2499

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Course Goals


The Process and Cycles of Product Design

What is the definition of a software product or embedded product? How does this relate to physical products? What services are delivered through these products? Know the landscape of products and understand how to navigate conversations around product design, development, and launch. Learn about product lifecycles, how to identify the maturity of a product, and where to jump in and iterate on improvements.

Design for Real People

Don’t design ideas. Design for the product’s end users: real people. Learn how to ask the right questions to gather information about and have empathy for who you are designing the solution for. Understand building and iterating on the product based on user needs. Build and test proto-personas and validate or discredit assumptions around their goals, thoughts, motivations, and beliefs.

Ensuring Business Outcomes

Are you building a product that is beneficial to the business? Take a step back and see how the design and development of this product align with the organization’s business goals.

Understand your Existing Product

Understand where you are in the product lifecycle process and define next steps. Learn where you are starting through competitive reviews: ask “should this product exist?”, do product research, audits, benchmarking, gap analysis, and technical reviews. Explore need-finding by identifying hidden demand: new opportunities to create value beyond what the customers are asking for.

Defining the Product Experience

Decide what to build and where to focus your scarce resources in the design process. Start with defining the experience, then prioritize features and establish the scope of the product. Through this process, you will learn important tools to uncover key moments, map user flows, and design a proper product architecture.

Creating a Design Framework

Craft a visual design, UI system design, style tiles and mood boards, key screens, and product voice to build the aesthetics and personality of the product.

Gather Honest Feedback from Real Users

Does your product meet the needs of real people? Prototype your product by creating real things for users to test and explore. Gain quick feedback from users and take this information back to the development team for constant improvement.

How to Build Together

Learn how to deliver a product within an agile framework. Go into the process with strong convictions on what we need to do for the product, but hold them loosely because what you learn while in a feature delivery cycle within the fine details may require flexibility to get to the desired outcome. Be ready to gather those insights as products get into the market.

Designing for Optimization and Growth

The process of product design never ends when you create an optimized design cycle centered on growth and development. Learn the proper way to integrate design into all aspects of development. Gain traction in user growth by asking the right questions about the future of the product and determining what’s next.

Before Class You Should Know


  • A high level of the difference between user experience versus user interface
  • Basic idea of how to create Personas and Journey Maps
  • Have a general understanding of how to make Wireframes
  • Be familiar with common UI pattern libraries such as Material Design (Android & Angular.js) and iOs
  • Be ready to work inside of Sketch if on Mac or if on PC working with an Adobe Suite of Products

After Class You Will Understand


  • How to identify and validate who you are designing for and what job you are fulfilling for them
  • How to communicate to key stakeholders and the team through storytelling
  • How to articulate what product type and scale you have with a clear vision
  • What it looks like to build a product using agile methodologies
  • How to gather and incorporate insights back into your product design

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