Brainstorm Product Features Quickly Using the 5W1H Framework

What if you’re asked to propose to a prospective client a new feature for their existing product. You’ve never worked with this client before, and you’ll need to finish all this in a short period of time. How will you handle this challenge?

Recently, the design team I’m in was tasked with something similar. I suggested our team use the 5W1H framework and moderated the brainstorming session. It turned out to be an effective one and help us come up with interesting new product features.

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Please, Don’t Replace the Bar with the Drawer

The bottom navigation bar in Material Design, which I will call the bar, also known as the tab bar in iOS, is the area at the bottom of the screen that allows the user to quickly switch between sections of an app. The navigation drawer, which I will call the drawer, is typically a side sheet that displays different app sections and is triggered by tapping the hamburger menu icon.

Both the bar and the drawer can be used for navigation purposes. Many apps nowadays seem to get rid of the bar and rely purely on the drawer, especially on Android. Without careful consideration however, this can lead to usability problems.

A bottom navigation bar in Material Design
A navigation drawer in Material Design

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Get Rid of Dropdowns

In a project, we may be tempted to use dropdowns to give the user a bunch of options to choose from. These options could be countries, languages, genres etc in a form or a setting page. After all, that’s what we are used to seeing in a lot of apps and websites, right?

I also tended to fall into this habit of using dropdowns until I recently came across a series of articles on why we should stop using them while researching different design possibilities for a client project. Reading these articles helped me think more carefully about the usability of dropdowns and made me realize that blindly using them is a lazy way of making things work. By replacing them with other components, we will be able to create much better user experience, especially on mobile.

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Is It Working? — A Simple Question to Keep in Mind when Critiquing a Design during Interviews

Recently, I was participating in a few designer interviews. After the first round, candidates would be given a design exercise which they would need to complete and present to us remotely in the second round. We would then look at the design, ask them questions and provide feedback during their presentations.

From interviewers’ perspective, understanding a candidate’s design could be challenging. Candidates usually need to go through many screens in a short period of time. Maybe the candidate is not so good at explaining the rationale behind his or her design. Sometimes there could be problems with the connection which lead to poor audio or video. In these circumstances, how can we critique a design effectively and provide the candidate with valuable feedback?

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