This is the second in a five-part series introducing the categories for the Products That Count 2022 Product Awards. These episodes feature the five members making up the product-forward powerhouse team that is the 2022 Awards Advisory Board.

Last time, we heard from Google Product Lead, Neha Taleja, on Informed Go-To-Market Strategy. In this talk, Transfix Product Marketing Lead Patrick Blute introduces the Delightful User Journey category for the 2022 Product Awards.

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On shaking up the categories in 2022

When it comes to the world of product, it’s not much of an exaggeration to say that in the last 18 months, everything has changed. Go back to discussions before the pandemic, and you’ll find that the innovations product leaders thought would take five to seven years to appear have already come to pass. The new categories for the next Product Awards reflect that acceleration of the “Age of Product.”

“When the advisory board got together this year, it was this really exciting conversation around how product has transformed so much with the way people are working, communicating, thinking about what they’re creating. We’re at this really awesome inflection point where it’s time to shake up our categories a little bit. So with each of our episodes throughout this series, you’ll find out a little bit more about what we’re talking about. And I will be covering the user journey. 

“Here’s what I think is really exciting about user journey, as it relates to our community: In every part of the product experience, from the moment someone discovers what pain point to solve, through each stage, from onboarding, to creative solutioning, training, learning, and creating that really passionate community, there is a journey. And there are tools out there that have been really instrumental in creating some of the most impactful experiences people are having and creating right now.”

On User Journey Superpowers

Did you know that products can have superpowers? Just like superheroes, the products that save the day need to have the right combination of traits and abilities to come out on top. For the category of Delightful User Journeys in the 2022 Product Awards, the winning products will demonstrate the following superpowers: inspiring next steps, creating passionate communities, optimizing for engagement, and designing to connect.

“When it comes to inspiring next steps, we really want to celebrate the products that have improved everything from onboarding, to life cycle adoption, towards the later stages of a product user’s journey, to celebrate those tools that have really inspired us to go that little extra mile and create better conversions along the way. 

“The second superpower is really about creating passionate communities. When you think about new features, new launches, new ideas that you’re trying to spread among your user base, what tools are you using that are guiding people through, not just understanding what they can do, but understanding how to interconnect with other users? A lot of what we’re looking for in this category are those tools that you’re using to think through what’s going to make this community tick, and what’s going to make them feel really connected to your ecosystem.

“The third is being optimized for engagement. How are we thinking about the actual end user’s advancement and experience? And not just in a way that’s transactional, but what are those real moments and sparks of joy? We’ve seen so many interesting things, from people experimenting with this digital and in-person future of work, building tools so that there’s one experience if you’re in an office, one experience if you’re remote. There’s so much that can be done with partnering technology. So this is a really unique and exciting moment, as people are all trying to understand what is happening in the future, and how we can build products for a lot of people experiencing them on different platforms or in different spaces.

“And lastly, designing to connect. One of my favorite things about great products is those that have built an opportunity to have a visual component, and have a unique way of telling a story. What tools allow us to really A/B test? Iconography, versus text, versus the visual identity. So really playing, experimenting, and giving designers a space to explore the user journey is going to be huge this year.”

On what makes a great product and PM

The user journey category at the 2022 Product Awards recognizes the fact that, now more than ever, great products are centered around unique user experiences and vantage points. Great products take into account where the user experience is currently, and where they’d like it to be, and then build a bridge between the two. 

Meanwhile, what makes a great PM is the ability to adapt. “Adaptability might be the key theme of this year, and of our next Product Awards. This has been one of the most unique times to really be driving the change forward and building products. And it’s really inspiring to see how much innovation is coming out. As a society, collectively, we’ve changed our adoption model too, and our way of thinking about things, and of experiencing these tools. So product managers and products that are adaptable and resilient are not just changing the way people do things. They’re inspiring next steps from that change.”