Future thinking for features

From LinkedIn
Jul 9, 2019

Introducing a new feature should come with the full understanding of who is going to use the product or service and how. Actually, "going to use.." is the point of time which is often missed. Feature planning is always happening at the given time point towards the future. Strategically it makes a lot of sense to focus on the future of the feature, especially for designers.

In the article, we do not consider the questions of "how the feature is used", or "how is it made". Those are good questions and very relevant but should be revised in contexts of research and ideation. We uncovering the overall design strategy problem.

While creating a product majority of stakeholders, in particular executives, project managers, developers, and many designer fellows are thinking and feeling in past. As all of the teammates building their ideas, thoughts, assumptions, and feedback on personal experience that is formed from an interaction with an existing product or service. This feature was imagined by someone else quite some time ago and built through several years to be introduced to the world in recent months. Which means, the idea is quite old and saying "let's do like them" is rolling the project several years back in time.

The backward-looking problem exists in many teams and should be replaced by forward-thinking. Forward thinking is about defining and designing the feature that looks at the future of the feature. Ask a question "How it should look and feel in a couple of months, years after the release?". The answer will swap the efforts from achieving that someone imagined a long time ago and made it the way it was possible that time, to achieve a better version of what is actually needed. Future wise it is something like... "Facebook did it. What are they working on now to be relevant in the next X months, years?

Responsibility of the designer, in case it is not set, to introduce the problem of backward-looking and steer towards the forward-thinking approach. It is critical because your new application, service, or product will be fully released after half a year or more, and at that point in time it will be already outdated.

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