Notes on UX Pin’s Top 10 Product Design Lessons for 2016

(By Jerry Cao from UXPin’s blog, link here.)

1 Hubspot designer Austin Knight: Kick formality to the curb

  • Last year, Knight paid someone to get drunk and do a usability test, leading the surprisingly valuable feedback. Think inside the box…of wine! (joke courtesy me). Or just try something new and unorthodox.


2 Zugata founding designer Jessica Phan: Craft personality before beauty

  • Start up speed leads to misplaced pixels and other visual inconsistencies. Get over it! Much more important to focus on the site’s brains and personality–that’s what bring people back


3 Brolik’s Chief Creative Officer Drew Thomas: Scalable design systems are the future

  • It’s impossible to keep up with all our digital tasks efficiently and cheaply unless we standardize, organize and see “digital” as one system with many reusable parts


4 Usability Geek’s UX Design and Founder Justin Mifsud: Evangelize UX but speak the language of business, not UX

  • UXers need to sell our practice across the enterprise–so sorry, but you’ve got to learn–and use!–their lingo if you want the best chance at success


5 Duo Security’s Product Designer Aline Bochkacheva: Pick your battles patiently

  • Working in large enterprises means plenty of disagreements. Ask yourself whether something is a big deal for the user, or just you–is this worth engaging over? If so, patiently walk other team members through the steps of your process and explain why you prefer this solution. But always give it 5 minutes before responding to feedback!


6 PwC Digital Product Designer’s Alex Gamble:  Show–don’t tell–the value of UX

  • Validating business and product decisions with users can be a tough sell, so go in strong. Use concrete examples from world-class examples like Apple or Amazon, tell specific user stories, have statics at the ready–and try and get folks to observe a user test session! Really opens eyes to see real people use your product


7 Peek’s Design Director Lukas Lysakowski: Mentoring others improves you

  • Mentoring widens your world view (and might give you a view into a different age group)–which will already make you better at your job. But as you teach others, you remind yourself that you’re pretty awesome, which gives you more confidence in your work.


8’s Product Designer Gaida Zharan: Focus on the smallest solution with the biggest impact

  • When Gaida started at, her first thoughts were about wholesale redesign. But she quickly discovered small, focused experiments on small solutions led to a significant increase in KPIs.


9 Lifelock’s Product Designer Rico Lavender: Practice Lean and Agile simultaneously

  • Ask both “are we making the right thing?” (Lean) and “how will we make it” (Agile) from the beginning–they are twin questions, not bickering siblings at different levels.


10 Salesforce’s Product Designer Ian Schoen: Your final design shouldn’t be the same as what’s shipped

  • Developers, PMs and others involved in the build process are going to contribute great ideas for change to incorporate into your “final” design. Embrace it!


About Jerry Cao (from UXPin’s site): Jerry Cao is a content strategist at UXPin where he gets to put his overly active imagination to paper every day. In a past life, he developed content strategies for clients at Brafton and worked in traditional advertising at DDB San Francisco. In his spare time he enjoys playing electric guitar, watching foreign horror films, and expanding his knowledge of random facts. Follow him on Twitter.


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