I’m happy to announce a Eilat Lev Ari’s paper was (conditionally) accepted to the ACM CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. The paper, written with Maayan Roichman and Eran Toch, is titled “Strategies of Product Managers: Negotiating Social Values in Digital Product Design”.

In the world of digital product design, product managers play a pivotal role. They are the linchpins who coordinate teams and prioritize features, ensuring that a product not only meets business goals but also resonates with users. However, the extent of their influence on user experience, particularly in embedding social values into product architecture, has been somewhat underexplored. Our recent study sheds light on this crucial area.

We adopted a mixed-methods framework to delve into the decision-making processes of product managers. This involved conducting semi-structured interviews with 20 product managers, complemented by an online survey that reached an additional 81 professionals, all based in Israel. Our research aimed to understand how these central figures in digital product creation navigate the complex interplay of business objectives, user satisfaction, and ethical considerations.

Our findings reveal four distinct strategies that product managers use to strike this delicate balance. These strategies aren’t just isolated tactics but rather reflect broader industry-wide approaches, as evidenced by the survey data. This data not only supports the existence of these strategies but also illustrates their prevalence across various sectors.

Our study highlights the importance of maintaining an ethical reputation in the job market. Product managers often find that their professional standing and the ethical stances they take can profoundly shape the products they help create. In essence, their personal values and professional ethics can leave an indelible mark on the digital products that permeate our everyday lives.

In conclusion, this study not only underscores the influential role of product managers in digital product design but also emphasizes the need for a nuanced understanding of how their decisions, influenced by a blend of business acumen, user empathy, and ethical considerations, shape the digital landscape. As the digital world continues to evolve, recognizing and valuing the multifaceted impact of product managers will be crucial in creating products that are not only successful but also socially responsible and user-centric.