How annoying (but really, fantastic) that people use our product in so many ways. Turns out, product design isn’t about laying out elements in the most ideal scenario for the user that’s most convenient for you. As product designers, we have to foresee every outcome, and anticipate every potential user need.
Which brings me to another annoying epiphany: if you want to do it well, and account for every user, product design is so much more snarly and tangled than you’d expect going in. I began with a simple goal: to improve the experience on just one of our key product pages. However, every small change impacts every part of the product to some degree, and that impact has to be accounted for. Every decision is based on assumptions that have to be tested; I test my assumptions by observing users, talking to the team, wireframing, and prototyping. Many of my assumptions are wrong. There are days when it’s incredibly frustrating, because an elegant solution for users with one goal will complicate life for users with another goal. It’s vital to solve as many scenarios as possible, even though this is slow, sometimes mind-bending work.
– Meagan Fisher, “What I Learned about Product Design This Year“