Welcome to Custom Made - our new weekly podcast that explores the many traits of successful product development. 

This is episode #007 of Custom Made and today I’m talking with Steven Ray, Chief Creative Officer here at DialexaSteve is an award-winning Creative Director and Interaction Designer with over 12 years of focus in interaction, visual, and interface design of: websites, software, mobile applications, and product design. He’s worked on an array of products for a diverse range of clients and industries such as Amazon, Evernote, Shopsavvy, FOX entertainment, Appcelerator.

Steve is one of the founding members of Dialexa, as well as the two Dialexa Labs companies, Vinli and Robin, that have been on previous episodes. When Steve joined Dialexa back in 2012 he brought along a more comprehensive view on the role of design within our approach to custom product development.

Today, Steve leads experience and creative direction at Dialexa partnering closely with clients and developers to create a seamless user experience. He believes that focusing on the user frequently gets shadowed by focusing on the interface and that it’s important to learn about the person and cater the technology to the user rather than make the user figure out how to use the technology or interface.

Steve and his team continually bring the latest thinking and techniques in how we design products here at Dialexa, both visually and from a user experience - there is a difference between these two approaches that should never be undervalued.

After all the user experience design of a product is such a crucial part of the product’s adoption, engagement, and the eventual business impact.

This episode of Custom Made is about the value of designing the wrong product. Now designing the wrong product may sound counterintuitive but stay with me on this.

It is a very expensive way to evaluate a new product if you only align stakeholders’ product vision, test with users, and iterate on the user experience once it is in development. You lose both valuable time and money as you revisit/redesign and redevelop features and workflows.

With the need to get a product to market quickly, without rushing out poor quality products, identifying ways to be more efficient throughout the product development process is critical. Gaining alignment on the product as early on as possible in the process is a key step to creating a successful product, in a timely manner.

For example, stakeholders involved in a project always have a different image in their mind of the what the product is or can do, and it is not until they have something they can see and react to do you really get a true understanding of their expectations of the product. Therefore taking additional time during the research and design to explore and test a range of product sketches and designs can save you time in the long run.

After all, if a picture paints a thousand words, then even a basic sketch of your product is more impactful for product alignment than a feature list or product description.

During our conversation Steve mentions a number of resources, here are some quick links to help you check them out:

You can catch Steve's full Custom Made episode here:

Here are some of the memorable moments from Steve's episode of Custom Made:

And, if you prefer to listen on the go, you can get all episodes of Custom Made on these platforms and many more. Do subscribe on your favorite platform to catch each episode as it is released, and let me know any feedback, questions, and recommendations on twitter @dougplatts.

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I hope you enjoy this episode!

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