Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Product Designer

Now I enjoy alpha and beta testing a variety of software as this to me is a way to directly influence the software to work effectively for me and my users needs. Typically an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) is given when testing software. However there was no such agreement in place for our meeting so it is ok to discuss here (but i will be leaving out the company name and product).

Recently I was asked to attend a training session for a new program that would be implemented at a company I do business with (we will call them Company A). I was told this software would soon be in use for me to transfer information to them for production prints. So of course I took them up on the training offer.

The training session location was changed a few times and ended up being held in one of the executives private office. After waiting and helping to set-up the network connection in the office we began. The training session consisted of myself the trainer and a conference call with the software programmer and a sales rep. Now this is when they told me that they appreciated me taking the time to view their product and provide my opinion on the software and as it turns out the "trainer" knew very little in regards to the software because this was his first learning session with it. How did I get here again..... :)

In the end I sat through a webmeeting/conference call and provided some feedback to the developers. Afterwards Company A asked me to provide them feedback on whether they should purchase and use this software. I took some time to go though the pros and cons of this software and how it compared to other products I use and sent this to my contact at Company A. After sending this private correspondance I received an e-mail from the developer of the software asking me to clarify me feedback and give more detail on what should be changed/updated. So apparantly someone forwarded my comments straight on to the developers. Not that big of a deal, so after a few more e-mails of design advice back and forth we are nearing the end of my feedback to them. This should make for a much better product for them in the near future. One funny thing is they asked if it was okay for the president of the company to contact me.

So this brings us back to todays topic of "Product Designer", because it is painfully apparent that this company does not use one. Two things that I would like you to take away from this is:
#1 - For any item you design, whether it is software/websites/renderings or any other item, make sure that the interface, layout and color schemes that you are using match or at the very least have a consistent layout. If it does not this will detract immediately from the product no matter how functional it is.

#2 - Know what you are getting into ahead of time instead of being surprised when you get there. :)

So for today my job title also consisted of non-payed "Product Designer". Do people really get payed to do this for a living?

Happy rendering...

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