How current events can change the product design process

Throughout the month of July Technicallywe delve into the theme of design, focusing on additional reports on user experience, graphic design, product development, accessibility, and more.

This topic covers the look and feel of technology, trends over the years and new innovations, but we also look at the impact of current events on the design world. Last month at Ballard Spahr And after event, five product professionals and business leaders spoke with Product Manager Less cardinal on how they bring their ideas to market.

And something that piqued our interest was what they had to say about how unprecedented events in 2020 – the COVID-19 pandemic, a new recession, a growing civil rights movement – ​​impacted the design of their company’s products.

Nora West, Guru senior product manager, said his team talks a lot about accessibility and its standards. When people work from home or struggle with internet access or don’t have the same access to resources, the product should still work well.

“It’s about thinking about language, or screens that have different color variations, or different qualities of computer screens themselves,” she said.

Neala Gollomp, by Comcast senior product manager, said more people are watching and streaming right now because they’re stuck at home. In March, Comcast found that customers were using an average of 32% more Internet. The company also saw a 50% increase in game downloads, a 38% increase in entertainment streaming, and an almost 50% increase in Voice Remote requests for “free movies”.

All of this new information changed Comcast’s product and design, Gollomp said. The company designs X1 to prioritize things like news or free movies because that’s what viewers gravitate toward.

“We really make sure to meet customer needs, whether it’s finding new trending orders or creating new pages, like ‘Black Voices’, ‘Black Stories,'” she said.

And design thinking is not just about the process of modifying a product, but all the steps involved in bringing a product to a customer. Heather FriedlandVP of Health and Wellness Product Management at, told panel participants that design thinking goes from the product idea stage to shipping.

For her, this means that all departments must work closely together to understand the vision. Product designers, sales, and marketing all need to be on the same page about what the experience should be like.

“One of the ways we use design is to try to identify the issues we see, and the product roadmap and journey should inform marketing strategies,” she said. “You want [the customer’s] experience to look like they thought they were buying marketing from the minute you order through the unboxing process.


Abdul J. Gaspar