With the help of Paul Priestman, last month’s Perception DM User Centricity Forum sought to divine how the approach of the product designer can be applied to digital media work. What piece of advice would you give to Web designers about learning from contemporary product design methods?

‘The ability to communicate with all the design sets is one of the most important tools the product designer has. This jack-of-all-trades approach gave me the ability to see my own limitations and work in a team to get large group projects done. In the digital arena the teams tend to be smaller and less diverse. My advice is to work with many people better than yourself. You learn more.’

Simon Waterfall, Creative Director, Deepgroup

‘You travel around a website by pressing buttons, so it’s both a place and a machine. To work a machine, it helps to have in your head an image of the whole box of tricks. Inside a website you get around a ‘room’ at a time and often never get a global view. It would be great if Web designers could develop ways to give us a constant overview.’

Geoff Hollington, Principal, Hollington

‘Design the experience. Visualise image and behaviour in tandem to create the right mix of mood and usability. In product design we use role-play sessions at the start to get the creative team inspired by the user’s perspective. We then do frequent user testing with early simulations of the design and use the feedback to evolve the concept.’

Gus Desbarats, Chairman, Alloy Total Product Design

‘Think of the Web as a 3-D environment. Everything on the Web is behind a glass screen so how can the user get inside the site through this glass barrier? Keep the needs and experience of the user at the centre of whatever you do, challenge what has gone before and push the boundaries of what’s possible.’

Paul Priestman, Partner, Priestman Goode

‘Product designers become good at placing themselves in the shoes of the stakeholders of a product. Sometimes the designer must be the end user, sometimes the client or the manufacturer. Taking this approach to the development of digital media results in an interactive “product” where the user interface is considered, the client’s needs are met and the product is built well.’

Ali Chappell ,Design Manager, Therefore Interactive

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