The dictionary meaning of product is commodity or merchandise. It refers to any material stuff that is found in a shop. However, in recent times, digital products like apps and websites are also known as a product. As far as building remarkable products is concerned, design plays a significant role. A well-designed product would help you stay ahead in the competition.
To begin with, let’s understand what product design is.
The process of recognising a market opportunity followed by a clear definition of the problem, development of its suitable solution, and validation of the solution with real users is known as product design.
That said, we shall now delve deeper into the steps of new product development strategy.
A term introduced by David Kelley and Tim Brown from IDEO, design thinking encompasses ideas of human-centred design into a single unified concept. Businesses are increasingly accepting the concept of design thinking over business thinking. This is because design thinking takes into consideration people’s needs, unlike business thinking.
Design thinking comprises of five phases enlisted below:
- Empathise: Carry out market research to know your target audience — for whom you are designing the product.
- Define: Consider the user information and their requirements to build the right point of view.
- Ideate: Think of a maximum number of creative solutions without limiting yourself.
- Prototype: Review your hypothesis by building a prototype or series of prototypes so that you can determine whether the designer is on the right track. It would also evoke new ideas in your mind.
- Test: Get in touch with your users for feedback.
Product Design Process
Next step in the product strategy comes to the design process. Product teams ought to follow a systematic approach for the formulation of a product, which is known as the design process. These steps are enlisted below:
Define the product vision
At the outset, try to understand the product vision and how it will help the users. Work on its purpose and have a clear idea about the goals it will help to achieve. After all, a goal without a deadline is just a dream. Same holds true for product design as well. Once you define the product vision, formulate the product strategy by planning the route towards the target destination.
Research about the users
The subsequent step in designing a product is user research. Proper research will work as a catalyst in convincing the stakeholders to implement your ideas. Collect information through user interviews and ask them the right questions. Doing so will shed light on how the user perceives his or her needs. It will also let you know the awareness level. Alternatively, you can create online surveys and questionnaires and analyse the market in more details.
Analyse the users
After completing the user research, you should analyse the data that is collected. Deduce conclusions on the buyer personas and design an empathy map that will inform you about what the user says, thinks, hears, and feels.
The team members get together and brainstorm numerous creative ideas that would help to fulfil the goals of the project development. Here are some tricks that would facilitate the process of ideation.
User journey mapping: It includes a path that depicts the user, his or her goal, and a scenario. In case you have a weather app, your user journey map would go as depicted below:
Just make sure that your user journeys are easy-to-understand with a linear journey.
Scenarios and storyboards: Scenarios refer to a narrative that describes how a typical day of a persona looks like and how the product will fit into their life. Storyboard, on the other hand, uses visuals to display the user’s story. It can be compared to a movie or comic. Product designers can get a hang of how people interact with a product in real life and the crucial aspects of their life.
User stories: It is a straightforward description of what the user looks forward to achieving with the help of the product.
Job Stories: Description of a feature from a jobs-to-be-done perspective is referred to as a job story. It helps to define a problem without prescribing any solution.
At the end of the ideation phase, the product team should be clear about what they want to create. The phase will begin with the creation of the solution that will solve the client’s problem.
Before we plunge into the designing of the product, we shall talk about the concept of “Minimum Viable Product”.
Frank Robinson initially coined this term. Two influencers, Steve Blank and Eric Ries made it more popular among everyone.
Whenever you design a product, make sure that the product has the simplest core feature set so that it can be deployed. These features are known as MVP.
Advantages of MVP Process
MVP Process comes with numerous advantages that apply to the designers as well as full-stack developers.
- It allows you to understand if users need your product without having to hire full-stack developers in a multitude to develop the full product.
- The team can learn about the customer’s needs and wants along with quick iterations.
- The number of wasted hours can be reduced as the developers have only a few features to focus on.
- It helps you to reach the market faster, thereby getting quicker sales revenues when compared to developing the complete product.
- You can stay ahead in the competition in case you have fellow companies who are looking forward to entering in the market of your interest.
Here are the two steps involved in the design process:
Prototyping is one of the most important aspects of the design process. It enables you to deliver a smooth user experience. A prototype is an experimental model of an idea so that you can test before the full solution is created. First of all, you should design the product’s core components and then build the necessary areas. The final prototype, after all the required iterations, is given for development.
The prototype design is then ready for production. In this phase, the designer sends the design to the full stack web developer for coding. The main requisite is that the designer should convey the requirements to the developer with every minute detail of how the design should work and look like.
Test and validate
The testing and validation phase entails the testing of the product with the product team and the resources you already have. It is known as dogfooding. Eating your own dog food is a renowned testing technique. After the design team has given a go-ahead to the product, test it in-house and look for any issues or bugs. This will also make your team more empathetic.
Another aspect of testing is selecting the real users and checking it for quality and usability. It should work well with the target users. Note down any usability problems or technical glitches that hamper the user experience. You do not have to worry about having too many representative users to test the product because 85% of core usability problems will be found with the help of five people who have used the product.
Plan the post-launch strategy
The official launch of a product does not end the designing process. Product design is not a one-off task. The best web development company would consider it as an ongoing process that has to continue as long as there are people using your product.
You should monitor the way people are using your product. Use an analytics tool to get access to the metrics on how the product is performing and look for the scope of improvement. You can even ask for feedback from customers with a simple form.
Consider incentivizing the customers to encourage them to provide feedback. You can even employ A/B testing to see what is working and what is not.
Just like you should write informative content that appeals to people and not Google, design a product that delivers value and makes life easier for people. Abide by the triad of including the right features for the right user base and deliver the right user experience. To sum up, focus on building a product that troubleshoots a challenge for the users.