Ten Resolutions for Product Design in 2018

Liam Oscar Thurston
Jan 4, 2018 · 6 min read

This year’s holiday food coma provided me the opportune moment for serious introspection. Rhythmic sugar highs punctuated by MSG-glazed Chinese spreads found me gazing into the angelic milk-drunk face of our eight-week-old son Theo, wondering what the crystal ball of design might hold for his funky future.

Before postulating deeply on that distant mirage, there are a few things that need to happen first. In order to dig into that, I’ll share my two fundamental beliefs:

  • Human-centered software strategy, design and development is one of the most powerful vehicles to drive progress
  • Deeply committed collaboration and feedback amongst passionate, multidisciplinary teams ensures the best outcomes for that progress

Leading the design practice at TWG has reinforced these beliefs in me, and demonstrated the personal and professional growth that they can fulfill for our teams and clients.

With that in mind, these are my 2018 Resolutions for Product Design. Maybe they’re predictions, or simply a to-do list. Regardless, these are areas of opportunity that we should focus on within our community — the lovely folks who dream up and ship the designed experiences that make our world a fascinating snowglobe of self-reflection. I think these themes are important and plan to contribute to them this year.


1. Use Useful User Personas, for Real

Claire Menke reconstructs the persona in The “Goldilocks Experience” of developing a foundational research framework – finding a practice that’s “just right” (article). More to come from TWG on this in 2018.

2. Focus on Design Tools That Ship

3. Ensure That User Research Wins

Try hiring a User Research specialist on contract or attend the next UX Research TO Meetup (Toronto Meetup Group) and measure how your team and product grow. If you have experience practising this fine art, join the TWG User Research Team (job posting).

4. Investing in (Design) Management Equals Sustainable Growth

Some of the great leadership training that we’ve invested in at TWG comes from Raw Signal, Plucky, 21 Toys, Founder City, and our very own legendary team of leads and managers.

5. Try Product Copywriting as a Practice

What is Narrative UX? (article), by Jessica Collier, is a classic first step.

6. Go Deeper With Accessibility

More to come from TWG on this in 2018.

7. Define Service Design as a Service

Read up on The Difference Between a Journey Map and a Service Blueprint (article) by Practical Service Design.

8. Visualize Machine Learning

Benedict Evans’ 10 Year Futures talk (video) delivers an aerial perspective on where we’re headed.

9. Sign Up for Team Sports

When you’re building those relationships, always practise Radical Candor. And hugs.

10. Define Your Moral Compass

We hosted Mike Monteiro’s How to Fight Fascism talk (video) at TWG last year, and he inspired us to keep fighting the good fight.


I encourage you to think about your year ahead and join me on some of these vision quests or define your own inspiring path. It’s only with love and intention that we’ll make 2018 shine bright and bold together.

TWG is a Software Consultancy that believes that software, in the hands of visionary teams, is the most powerful tool to drive growth and change. We’re always growing our team of designers, user researchers, product managers, engineers, and QA analysts.

Let’s talk.

The Almanac

Insights about software from the team at TWG

Thanks to Leslie Meikle McGill and TWG

Liam Oscar Thurston

Written by

Senior Director of User Experience at Loblaw Digital, ex Creative Director @TWG, building human-centered software for all.

The Almanac

Insights about software from the team at TWG

Liam Oscar Thurston

Written by

Senior Director of User Experience at Loblaw Digital, ex Creative Director @TWG, building human-centered software for all.

The Almanac

Insights about software from the team at TWG

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