RefreshDC Recap: Product Design Principles from Etsy


Last night, AddThis sponsored the Refresh DC Meetup where the senior design manager at Etsy, Cap Watkins, entertained a packed house with stories and lessons learned from his career in product design.

Hilarious gifs included.


As Cap shared stories about his successes and failures, he left us with a few of his key principles for product design success.

1. Embrace Alternate Viewpoints

As a designer it’s sometimes hard to take a step back from your own idea to consider other options. But in Cap’s experience, some of the best designs were a result of collaboration. Stay open minded and you just might be pleasantly surprised.

2. Be Transparent

One of the biggest problems in product design when you spends weeks working on a project only to find out (after you’ve completed it) that the plan changed or the product design needs to move in a different direction. Being open and transparent with you work makes the process much more efficient and prevents you from wasting valuable time and energy.

3. Realize it’s OK (and Sometimes Good) to Fail

Don’t be afraid to fail! Some of the biggest design fails have resulted in some of the biggest design wins. Failure helps you learn and get better.

4. Make Your Dev Cycles Short, Iterative and Measurable

Good design doesn’t have to be perfect. Move fast, iterate, and test, test, test!

5. Work as a Team

This one may seem kind of obvious, but so often companies silo Product Designers, Product Managers and Engineers. The closer these individuals/ teams work together, the better, more efficient your design becomes.







Are there other principles you have for product design success? Share your thoughts in the comments below!