Mind the Gap

This post is a summary of Luke Wroblewski’s user centered design/product talk at the 2019 Conversions Summit. I found the talk to be insightful and the following are some of my key takeaways:

  • The gap between what a product is and why it exists expands when people start to do things for reasons other than the customer or user.
  • The gap starts to negatively affect the bottom line and your growth as a company because it takes someone a long and arduous time to get to your product’s value.
  • As product people, it’s our responsibility to ensure that gap stays as narrow as possible.
  • Conway’s Law — as organizations grow, decision-making moves further from end users and the structure of the org starts to show up in our products.

Luke’s main premise is there is a ‘gap’ that forms when your organization gets bigger. The gap is the distance between what your product is and why it exists. It also manifests itself as the gap between your users and the people making decisions about the product. To combat this phenomenon, we as product people need to ensure we leverage every opportunity to get in front of our users and understand their problems or needs. We also need to ask ourselves if the decisions we’re making will ultimately enhance or hinder the user experience.