By David Anzalone,
Jun 10, 2020

Agency X Podcast: Investing in Product Design to Solve Real Customer Problems

Investing in Product Design to Solve Real Customer Problems with Dustin Alper

Agency X Podcast: Investing in Product Design to Solve Real Customer Problems

On this episode of the Agency X podcast, I sat down with Dustin Alper from Tracer, a paid media data aggregate platform and a Vayner X company. Dustin is an L2 senior product designer and one of the chief members responsible for the look and feel of the platform. As a seasoned member in tech, and one of the most creative individuals I personally know, I wanted to tap into his vast fountain of wisdom on all things UX/UI design.

Some of the topics we discussed are:

Owned vs. Borrowed Design

At Avex, we’re meticulous about the eCommerce sites we build, but ultimately don’t own these experiences. Clients allow us to borrow their identity so that we may enhance it to better satisfy both their needs and those of their customers. In Tracer’s case, Dustin has the benefit and opportunity to continually improve upon it and guide the direction of that change. With owned products, designs can slowly focus on small changes for small wins, which can add up to have meaningful impact.

What agencies can learn from this is to focus on building long-term client relationships where they can borrow these experiences longer to enhance and optimize. Leverage A/B testing on creative, copy, functionality, content organization, etc. Don’t just stop when the website is built. Continue to make it better.

Listening to Users

Only users can make the call on whether a product is well-designed and easy to use. As a result, listening to users and conducting tests is paramount to ensure we are building a quality experience.

Here’s how Tracer Collects user feedback:

  • A research team that proactively ask users certain questions while testing prototypes
  • A client success team trained to gauge customer understanding and confusion while onboarding new customers for the first time

Differences in eCommerce and General Product Design

The purpose of general products is so different that it provides interesting challenges to both the experience and research, and the UI will look vastly different. Dustin equates general products like social platforms to a maze without an exit. The goal is keep users engaged in the experience as much as possible. eCommerce sites on the other hand are fairly predictable mazes with clearly defined pathways with an extremely specific goal in mind: purchases. The “barriers” in the eComm experience provide necessary information a user requires to make a purchase. What separates good eCommerce UX from the bad is the quality of the content that satisfies the user's needs.

Solving the Unsolvable Problem

Dustin makes a case for how there is no right answer in design. There are always new trends, changing user interests, and the problem can never be solved, but it can be better satisfied. When designing for the first time, we don’t know if the experience is good until someone uses it. Only users can make the call if a product is well-designed and easy to use.

Like what you see and want more? Listen to the full episode on every page podcast platform!