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User Experience Design and Product Thinking


Life’s too short to build something nobody wants… – Nikkel Blaase

When thinking of UX, we usually think of a simple, beautiful, and easy to use feature-kit of a product, that makes the user’s life convenient. Features are a small, intangible part of the product. They are only one of many plausible solutions for a user’s problem products try to resolve. When thinking from a product perspective means to ideate through specific user problem, and how to eliminate them to generate revenues.

The core user experience is not a feature set; in fact, it is the job users to test the product or service for them. Uber’s core UX is to get a taxi at any time. The countdown till its arrival is a suitable feature that assimilates this experience. However, Uber’s product can work without this feature. On the other hand, the countdown cannot live without the product (its core UX, the certainty to get a taxi at any time). There is a one-way relationship between feature and product: Features don’t work without the product, which is why designers ought to think about the product(s) first.

Think in products, not in features – Nikkel Blaase

Build relevant features for the right people

Thinking in products helps to create successful features. But why do we build this particular feature? We do so to define the problem the feature proposes to solve. Setting up a goal helps in evaluating the success of this feature. Asking the right questions helps define the target group and the solution. It gives appropriate guidance to create a new feature.

The Problem-Solution-Fit

Features become relevant when the provided solution fits the problem, which elaborates on how problem-solving occurs. Thus, the problem-solution-fit defines the core UX of a product. Interaction Design and Visual Design can make the end product beautiful, easy-to-use, delightful, or make it stand out, but that does not make the product relevant – another reason why a proper problem-solution-fit is so crucial for the success of a product.

The Vigor of Product Thinking

Product Thinking is a holistic approach, as the term focuses on user experience (UX) and the needs of the user. Besides, the term product covers digital services and physical goods. Product Thinking always considers the product as a factor for its use. Product Thinking also includes product people, who are primarily concerned with the products – not with the processes. Product people know these processes, alright! But they also believe that these processes must not be applied too rigidly, and must be subordinate to the product – and eventually, the user.

 The product and its user should always come first, not the process – Nikkel Blaase.

 Thinking in products gives UX designers the benefit of building the right features for the right people, which helps comprehend the user experience of a product to a broader extent. It makes sure designers maneuver real user problems and thereby reducing the danger of building something nobody wishes to have. It gives UX designers the power to make relevant and precise decisions when it comes to feature building.

Product Thinking empowers UX designers to ask the right questions to build the right features. It enables them to say ‘no’ and to be reluctant before including new features. Whenever a new feature is in demand or somebody has an idea for a new product, designers can ask the relevant question before drawing wireframes or crafting fancy layouts: Does it fit into the product? –Does it serve a real user problem? –Do people want or need it? –Let’s find out first!  It keeps the product minimal and precise.


Thinking in terms of the product(s) enables UX designers to build the appropriate features for the right people and handle their real problems. It allows UX designers to make the right choices and thought of as the base of building successful products consumers wish. Product Thinking establishes a coherent relationship between Product Management and UX Design and leads to better products. That is why Product Thinking is going to be the next major trend in UX Design.

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