Design Tools 2018 Prediction

I think the market for product designers stink. We have no real loyalty and minimal budget. I would never join a startup that targets me as a customer. However, there are plenty of players out there. Here is my prediction for 2018 in the space:

Adobe
The category king in many ways. Photoshop and Illustrator still dominate worldwide design. However, Silicon Valley and the early adopters have begun the revolt. Adobe has to re-earn loyalty from scratch the way Microsoft has lost Silicon Valley and early adopters as well for the OS.

For product design, Adobe has XD. I tried really hard to make it work, but it’s a a mess. It doesn’t really work, it’s missing features big and small. It seems like it will take them a long time to make this thing work. They are building in slo-motion. In 2018, I think Adobe will continue to slog through, but not make real progress. They will continue the slow and steady decline that will likely take 10 years to finally crater.

Figma
The newest competitor onto the stage, Figma has innovated in several areas. It is browser based and multi-player concurrent editing. It also has native prototyping built in. This formula is the right vision of the future. However, they are babies compared to established players. They need to work on performance, better prototyping and lots of details.

My prediction is that Figma will go viral in 2018 and they will freak out. In other words, success is not always a good thing. I think Figma may be crushed under the usage load and bright lights of a hungry audience. Their community is not scalable, the permissions system is really basic and there are bugs. Figma is my current tool, but I am really afraid for them. This could be a train wreck if they don’t rise to the challenge of success.

Invision
Invision has grown steadily in the past few years based on strong prototyping and commenting. They rely on Sketch and Adobe to power the actual design process. There are competitors in prototyping, but they have largely been niche players. However, Invision must be aware of tools that combine prototyping AND design like Figma and Adobe XD. This is likely sending alarm bells off in Invision.

2018 should be the year that Invision makes a move into the design space. The question will be whether they can execute or not. This is a life and death struggle that they need to win to survive. My prediction is that their tool will not catch fire, mainly because it is difficult to pivot like that and cannibalize your strongest partner (Sketch).

Sketch
The darling of Silicon Valley, this Illustrator look-a-like only works on Mac. I have never used it because I am on Windows, but people who use it will rave nonstop to anyone who will listen. HOWEVER, the lack of native prototyping has forced Sketch into a strong partnership with Invision. So here comes Adobe from one end and Figma on the other. Meanwhile your strongest partner (Invision) is going to start and compete with you. This is a serious flaw for Sketch.

My prediction for Sketch is grim. I think they are fucked. It’s possible they try to get into the prototyping game and compete with Invision (again a strategic dilemma). However, I haven’t heard anything in this vein. Ultimately, I think their lack of cross-platform use will be an Achilles heel.

Summary
This is a real battle for the hearts and minds of product designers world wide. We have little money and complain alot. We use a ton of resources and will switch to a competitor on a moments notice. We suck as customers.

Good Luck.

Product Responsibilities Framework v0.2

Product Responsibilities Framework v0.1

Frameworks for how to organize your product team are sometimes difficult to follow and figure out who does what. Product managers are often given too many job responsibilities and end up being spread too thin.

Lately, I have been thinking about this and wanted to redo my v0.1 framework and add in a few items like Adoption Marketing and Market Demand Research. Plus, I reorganized the structure to make more sense to me.

Take a look.

I believe in open-sourcing this sort of thinking. I don’t have a book, I don’t have a speaking tour. We all live through our jobs and wonder if someone has already thought of a solution to some problem. We all use Google to explore these ideas. It’s up to us to fill Google with useful things.  Here are my thoughts about product development, free of charge.

All I ask in return is never-ending adoration. (too much?)

Anyway, please comment, suggest changes, fork it and share your own. The text is copied here below.

    •  Intelligence
      • Market Definition
        Define a group of people with money and a problem?
      • Competitive Landscape
        What are the current solutions?
      • Opportunity Assessment
        How much money can be made?
      • Market Demand Research
        Define value benchmarks for feature categories
    • Planning
      • Problem Definition
        What are we solving for?
      • Environmental Constraints
        How much time, money and resources do we have?
      • Requirements
        What does the solution need to include?
      • Build, Buy, Partner
        How will we approach the solution?
      • Personas and Use Cases
        Specific cases of specific kinds of people
      • Roadmap Plans
        How will we sequence all of this?
    • Design
      • Solution Definition
        What is the offering?
      • Specification
        Detailed Build plan
      • Usability Testing
        Will the solution actually work in the real world?
    • Communication
      • Offering Definition
        How do we monetize and communicate this solution?
      • Offer Details
        Pricing, packaging, marketing
      • Sales Tools
        Collateral, pitch decks, battle cards
      • Launch Plan
        Training, documentation, support, onboarding
      • Adoption Marketing
        Use marketing techniques to make sure people use your solution
    • Analysis
      • Learning
        How did reality match up with the plan?
      • Usage Analysis
        Who? When? How often?
      • Financial Analysis
        Are we making/saving money as expected? Also win/loss analysis
      • Process Analysis
        Can we improve how we do things?

Enjoy. Let me know if it’s helpful to you.