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Design is Harder Than Product Management
10 ways design is way harder
Look, we all know that being a Product Manager is hard. You have to deal with a bunch of stakeholders, make sure that the product is meeting the market demands, and work on keeping the team aligned towards the product goals. But let's be real here, being a Product Designer is way harder. Here's why:
1. The Tools: So. Many. Tools.
As a Product Manager, you get to play with fancy project management tools, collaboration apps, and AI-powered analytics platforms. Meanwhile, Product Designers are left cobbling together designs with Figma or Sketch, and cursing the time it takes to export a simple design to developers. Oh, you have a new task management app? That's cute.
2. Dealing with Developers: Not for the Faint of Heart
Product Managers get to float around in the clouds, thinking about the big picture. Product Designers, on the other hand, must obsess over every minute detail, from color schemes to typography to responsive design. And then there's the delicate art of translating design dreams into developer-speak. Hey, can you change that font size by 0.5 pixels? Thanks!
3. The Feedback Loop: A Never-Ending Nightmare
While Product Managers sit back and analyze data, Product Designers get to juggle subjective feedback from users, stakeholders, and their own team members. It's like trying to please everyone and no one at the same time. But can you make it more...blue?
4. Keeping Up with Trends: The Race that Never Ends
For Product Designers, there's always a new tool, a new framework, or a new design philosophy that demands your attention. The design world is constantly shifting, and if you don't stay on top of it, you risk being left in the dust. Wait, you're still using flat design? How 2017 of you.
5. Earning Respect: The Eternal Struggle
Product Managers are showered with praise for delivering a successful product, while Product Designers are often seen as glorified decorators. After all, anyone with an Instagram account is suddenly a design expert, right? I don't see any wireframes in your feed, Karen.
6. The Creative Process: From Inspiration to Desperation
Product Managers follow well-defined processes, but Product Designers have to navigate the murky waters of creativity. One day you're on fire with ideas, and the next you're questioning your entire existence. Is this what they meant by "suffering for your art"?
7. Juggling Multiple Roles: Master of None
As a Product Designer, you're expected to wear many hats: UX researcher, UI designer, visual designer, and sometimes even front-end developer. It's like being in a one-person circus act, but without the applause. _Look, I can code this button while balancing on a unicycle!
8. Empathy: Feel All the Feels
Product Managers can crunch numbers and analyze user data, but Product Designers have to actually empathize with users. We must put ourselves in their shoes and understand their pain points, desires, and frustrations. It's like being an emotional sponge, absorbing all the feels. Pass the tissues, please.
9. Design Systems: Assembling the Puzzle
While Product Managers get to play with shiny new features, Product Designers must create and maintain design systems. We painstakingly build consistent, reusable UI components, ensuring that they work harmoniously together. It's like assembling a never-ending jigsaw puzzle, but some pieces keep changing shape. Why won't these buttons just stay the same?
10. The Portfolio: Show and Tell, Forever
Product Managers can showcase their success through metrics and KPIs, but Product Designers have to maintain an ever-evolving portfolio. We're constantly updating, tweaking, and refining our work to keep it fresh and relevant. It's like an eternal game of show and tell, but with more anxiety. Is my work good enough? What if they don't like it?
In the end, Product Designers face a unique set of challenges that make our jobs harder than Product Management. But we wouldn't have it any other way. We'll continue to embrace the chaos, create beautiful experiences, and adapt to the ever-changing design landscape. After all, we're in it for the love of design, and we know that design is, indeed, hard.
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About John Wayne Hill
John Wayne Hill, a seasoned product designer with over 15 years of experience, is the creative force behind Design Is Hard. Previously a Director-level IC at Twitter, John has a proven track record of challenging the status quo and pushing for innovation. His collaborative spirit extends to working with fellow designers, engineers, product managers, data analysts, and researchers, fostering a team-oriented environment. As a visionary leader, John Wayne aims to improve user experiences while elevating his team's skills through a relentless focus on customer needs and design craftsmanship. With a penchant for taking risks and tackling new challenges, John Wayne Hill is the go-to product designer for businesses seeking to level up their game.