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InVision ambassador ambassador
FAHANMI Ambrose Wuraoluwa

What does it take to build a good relationship between a designer and a product owner?

As a designer, have you ever been in a situation where you don't agree with your employees' design approach?
That said, there is always a necessity albeit to varying degrees for the existence of a good relationship with the product owner(s). These are my top approaches to building a strong relationship with product owners from a designer's perspective:

  • Understand the needs of your client and your users.
    It is pertinent that you take your time to properly understand what your client wants and what the user needs. This is important because knowing and understanding their needs help form the basis of your design approach. Without really understanding this, you will likely end up in a loop of constantly being told to make minor adjustments or change things entirely (that sometimes don't make good UX). You would also hate to hear, “No, this doesn’t pass the brand the way we want”, and having the users get a bunch of things that aren't important.

  • Do your personal research (knowing their industry).
    As a designer, you would most likely be involved with diverse industries and organizations that you probably have no prior experience with. Often times, doing a little research about your clients and their industry, in addition to the information you might be given, helps in formulating a clearer picture of how the project can be in terms of User experience. This also facilitates effective communication.

  • You aren’t designing for yourself.
    The biggest pit most designers fall in is the unconscious placing of themselves as the end user; the ease to make designs just on the assumption that because you like it, every other person should like it, but ego gets bruised after what seemed awesome is rejected. It is necessary to be open minded and understand that sometimes your opinions and suggestions aren’t absolute just because you’re the designer and you have X-years of experience. You should always put the need of your users first. This way, you can always balance realities with fantasies, while bringing up necessary conversations in regards to user experience and designs. 

  • Communicate effectively and define goals and deliverables clearly.
    Effective communication is non-negotiable. Period. Define the goals and the deliverables expected by your client very clearly and always ensure that you and all parties involved always come to a mutual understanding. This way, both parties have their thoughts and contributions communicated and you, as the representative of the users (but not the sole user), have their needs also in check.

  • Maintain a positive attitude.
    Not just for bants. We all know how emotional some discussions with clients can get.

All said, there’s really not a perfect equation when it comes to building awesome relationships and driving user experience. Therefore, doing all of the above are tougher than it appears on paper.

If you’ve been in a position of building a good relationship with a product owner or championing user experience, how did you go about it?

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Chucks Ogwo
InVision ambassador Chucks Ogwo , ambassador
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Well done. Did a good job with this one. The article is well researched and some salient points were mentioned.

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Oluoma Ogene
InVision ambassador Oluoma Ogene , ambassador
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These are very helpful tips. Good job!

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FAHANMI Ambrose Wuraoluwa
InVision ambassador FAHANMI Ambrose Wuraoluwa , ambassador
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Thanks a lot Chucks, and I am glad thee tips are helpful, Oluoma.

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