Every product person should be playing with products—working with them, examining, scrutinizing, trying to discover what’s unique, what’s especially appealing, what’s done well, and what’s done badly. Hands-on experience is the key to advancing your product sensibility.
Look not just at competitive products but at other products in your life. That new coffee maker: How easy is it to open the box? To use it the first time? To understand the user options and choices?
The same applies to Internet sites. Recently, I signed in to a legal site to create a new will and trust. On this site, the sequence of steps was amazingly easy to figure out; the entire process was seamless. As soon as I was finished, I called on my lead product guy to take a look at the site, and told him to make sure our own site had product instructions that met the same high standard for ease of use.