July 14, 2020 / Blog

Answering Product Design Questions

Product design questions can be complicated. They are designed to evaluate a variety of skills and abilities, including problem solving, creativity, practical knowledge, and evaluating choices, but they can often seem overwhelming. That’s why I created this guide; to demystify product design questions and create a simple guide that breaks down the process of answering them, so you can succeed at your next interview.

How to Answer the Question

Step 1- After being given the question, the first step is gathering information. You should ask clarifying questions about the product design the interviewer wants, making sure that you and the interviewer are both clear about the goal of the product design. Important questions to ask could be “Who are the users?” “What do they want to do?”, and any other questions you have.

Step 2- The second step is choosing a user group. List several groups that your product could be marketing to- for example, if you are asked to design a product to improve a certain company, the user groups could be the upper level employees, the lower level employees, and the clients. After listing potential user groups, select one to market to, and make sure you explain why you choose that group.

Step 3- The third step is the needs of the user group. You can begin by listing issues that the user group faces or processes that can be improved- things that you could help with your product design. Ideally, you should list at least five user needs. Then, you should analyze the needs you listed and choose which 2-3 you will address, and why. Again, you should explain your reasoning thoroughly.

Step 4- The fourth step has two parts: listing solutions and prioritizing solutions. Listing solutions is your opportunity to show off your originality and your ability to think outside the box. However, don’t be too fanciful. Your ideas should be creative and innovative, but all of your solutions still need to be practical and usable. After you have come up with a few solutions, it’s time to evaluate them. Analyze your solutions using specific criteria, like cost, effect on customer experience, impact on the business, and any other principles you find necessary. I personally recommend using a table or some other graphic organizer for this step. Prioritize your solutions based on your analysis, and try to avoid bias.

Step 5- The fifth step is showcasing the product design. You should go into detail about the product and its features, and demonstrate your ability to implement a profitable final product. Paint a picture of what your product is and what it can do.

Step 6- The sixth and final step is to summarize your answer. Give a concise review of the product, the user needs you are addressing, and the solution you recommended and why. Keep in mind that this should just be a brief rundown, and it shouldn’t take longer than a minute or so.

Final Thoughts

Additionally, I have two tips that may help you when you’re answering a product design question. This first and probably most important is to ask for a minute if you need it. Don’t try to rush yourself; your product design will be much better in the end if you take the time to organize your thoughts. This can be particularly useful in steps two and four, where you have to brainstorm possible user groups and possible solutions. Not everything will occur to you immediately, and that’s okay, so don’t be afraid to request a minute to think.

The second tip is to include innovative new technologies, such as AI or recent technological advances. This displays your knowledge in that area, and that you can use it to improve your product design. Only use this as applicable, though- don’t just add in technology as a buzzword if it doesn’t really enhance your product.

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