What is Path Design?

Value Paths argues for thinking in terms of paths rather than product-spaces.

It's a paradigmatic shift from thinking of yourself as the creator of an aesthetically pleasing, well-designed, and valuable product to thinking of yourself as a creator of the pathways that make your product relevant to begin with.

Users are recruiting your product towards an outcome they desire. To reliably deliver the outcome, you need to be thinking about the process that users are bringing that product into and engaging with it in. You need to be designing for the whole path.

From a Path Design standpoint, we ask questions like:

  • where are users trying to get to and what are all the steps that they need to go through in order to get there?
  • How much support is your product or offering providing to them step over step to be able to actually make it through?

You always want to have a general idea of what the user's state is so that your system can guess what their desired state is, and then organize it's experience around forming a path that guides the user to that desired state, rather than just saying, "Hi, I'm a product. And if you learn how to use me, then you can hopefully get there."