The end product is a result of multiple solutions. It taps into top-notch functionality and a user-friendly interface. But what comes before a successful product? It's an in-depth and well-thought-out digital product design process.
This number is not only about the beauty of the website or an app but a decrease in business growth. In the digital world, you communicate via technology, so this language should be simple and fast and lead to conversions.
In this article, we'll look at the importance of the product designing process, its difference and similarities from UX design, and learn more about the product design process steps. You'll also find a successful case and a good deal of other nitty-gritty that will help you master the stages of your product design and development process.
The product design process is often confused with industrial product design, which refers to the mass production of devices. The product design, on its part, implies a set number of steps required for the creation of the digital product, like an app or a website. The process itself goes far beyond concept creation or MVP development. It seeks to find solutions for effective business growth after scrutinizing the target audience's needs and offering the relevant product.
The product designing process serves to either confirm or refute the importance of the project development. It encompasses a vast array of prudent and objective decisions based on research, data analysis, and hypothesis.
Come to think of what is the mission of the digital product design process. The answer is simple — to satisfy. That means designing a product complies with every stakeholder's expectations.
The product development team creates a plan and marks out product design and development stages to make the process quality, fast, and cost-effective. So they can enter or succeed in the industry and stand out from the competition with minimal or no loss.
As a former Chief Design Officer of Apple Inc. Jonathan Ive said: "You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.” This is also true for digital products. The better you understand the purpose of your product and its customers, the more functional design you can develop.
It has to solve particular problems or meet some needs. For instance, you're developing a food delivery app. It should use well-recognized icons and pleasant graphics so that customers could find the food description and make an order on the go or even in a rush.
Like in the case of Payoneer, an American financial services company, users can easily navigate within their accounts and carry out transactions. All information in the app is divided into different sections. Users can find the right card and see the history of transactions with a few taps of the mobile screen.
That's why, before kicking off your product design development process, you have to get to know the users better. Also, it's important to examine all segments of your potential audience and customize the product to its needs. So, when users open your app or website, design helps them navigate and find everything they need within the shortest time.
Quite often, people might confuse the aesthetics, usability, and functionality of the digital product. To avoid this stumbling block, let’s dig deeper and find out how UX/UI design and product design differ.
The truth is, there’s a fine line between both processes. When designing a product, the main focus is turned to business needs and product usability. So, product design and UX design are responsible for these tasks respectively.
To put it simply, UX design is a part of product design, including coding, UI design, and project management. Let’s look at the table to check out what principles underpin product design and UX design.
Obviously, both processes have two different priorities.
Product designers have to take a look from various perspectives:
Test multiple hypotheses
Try to find arguments that prove their product fits the industry and is profitable.
Search for solutions on how to make design cost-efficient.
This comprehensive picture allows them to gauge all feasible approaches and facts.
Thus, product design fosters marketing criteria, like brand awareness and sales, improves and optimizes business processes. Product designers mainly work in Figma, Sketch, Adobe Illustrator.
As for UX design, its main priority is usability:
UX designers strive to make the interface user-friendly and simple to navigate.
They focus less on the internal business growth phases but on the user interaction.
UX designers have to conduct research and study their audience to understand its behavior and demands better.
With this information, UX prototyping and design become accurate and driven by facts that, in turn, result in higher performance. UX designers create their projects using Figma, Adobe Xd, or Sketch.
Nevertheless, product design and UX design processes share the same design process stages. It’s significant to understand that they are not linear but evolving and constantly changing phases. Both processes require in-depth research on their initial steps to get a desirable outcome.
Besides, product design and UX design can hardly be possible without iterative stages of design thinking. It allows for scrutinizing a usability problem and then digging up solutions based on the human-centered approach.
After exploring the product design process from diverse angles and understanding how it differs from UX design, it’s time to figure out how to design a product.
With a purpose to deliver win-win features in a single product, it's inevitable to overcome numerous steps before releasing the product to the market. The team needs an outline roadmap of product design process steps. We offer you guidelines to ensure success and minimize possible risks. Ready to check them out?
First and foremost, research is a cornerstone of the product designing process. Don Norman, a digital design guru and a founder of Nielsen Norman Group, underlines four crucial techniques as a key to successful design – observe, test, iterate, and learn.
At this phase, you have to meet your target audience and define its segments. Get to know what features and improvements people expect to receive when uploading your app. Besides, try to walk in users' shoes and find reasons for how your product can lend a helping hand.
As Don Norman, the director of The Design Lab at the University of California, San Diego, says: "Engineers and designers simultaneously know too much and too little. They know too much about technology and too little about how other people live their lives and do their activities."
Then, explore the market. You should dive deep into the industry to understand what solutions are already available and what is lacking. With this knowledge, you'll be able to choose the right direction for the next product design phases.
In the course of your research, you may discover pain points at three levels:
These issues refer to usability. They vary depending on the product popularity and their impact on the user. User research helps detect how often these problems occur and offers a modification to the user's interactive experience.
With this approach, you can implement a product redesign driven by previously collected data. Field studies, diaries, and user interviews are the main tool to define journey-level pain points. Additionally, you can assess how often users deal with these issues and their impact on the desirable conversion.
If you want to figure out relationship-level pain points, it's important to interact with loyal customers. You can measure customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and willingness to recommend. This stage requires information about user and company interaction over time to redesign existing models.
Moreover, scrutinize your direct and indirect competitors. Their activity will help you discover the weak and strong sides of your app. The former might help you realize what features to improve and integrate. Meanwhile, the indirect competitors might give you a fresh look at the problem. When adjusting their solutions to your niche, there's always a chance to create a revolutionary product design.
Once you've got a comprehensive picture of the industry, market demands, and available offers, you can define your business goals. Your product is undoubtedly looking to make this world better and handle numerous users' problems, but what is your benefit?
At this stage, you can map out a persona buyer and use design benchmark methodology. With an analysis of the landscape, it's easier to leverage on-hand features, improve them and adjust to current business needs. Besides, you can integrate complementary solutions that contribute to the positioning and competitiveness of your product on the market.
Moreover, you can build the user journey map to track an ideal user experience. Write down and validate different actions on the user's way to conversions, be it a subscription or purchase. A good UX design can increase conversions by up to 200%. The user journey allows you to identify product requirements and envision possible troubles. If working out this phase properly, you'll be able to avoid numerous mistakes and ensure smoothness and consistency.
In our portfolio, we hold a case of an effective UI/ UX app redesign for Super, a white label banking platform with multi-currency wallets for high-risk businesses. The main idea of the project was not only to guarantee secure money transfer, but also make an understandable interface. Besides, we adjusted the website capacity to the current need so that our clients could see a rise in conversions.
Functionality lies in the heart of the product design process because every step you take is aimed at the practical use of the product. Based on the previous stages of product design, you can list the most and least important functions. Also, you can mark out native and integrative features so that you can better plan the development process.
With this prioritization, the team understands how to improve a product and make it more interesting. The final result is supposed to have top-notch functionality that deals with the key customer pain points.
For instance, years ago, Apple’s products were known for their intuitive navigation and in-built hints. But today, the company has shifted this tendency to beautiful and, as some may find, confusing icons and gesture sets. Apple’s team has changed its priorities, so does its functionality.
Design a scheme that helps you see how logical and fluid are the actions in the user interface. Also, you can assess how friendly the environment is to your customers when they handle their problems with the help of your product. With information architecture, your team can track possible hurdles and fix them right away.
Establishing a productive critique culture and feedback loop improves the success of your product. So you won't waste your time on developing useless functions. You'll get a comprehensive picture of the app's features and operating processes it solves.
Don’t overlook one of the core stages of product design and development. Prototyping eliminates bugs and errors in the ready-to-release product and saves time, budget, and effort. You create not only an eye-pleasant but well-operating interface by A/B testing, interviewing your demo users, checking a click-through prototype. All the data you might obtain will showcase the final look of the released product. Thus, it's an opportunity to make your app more simple, relevant, and understandable.
Once the concept of your product is ready, it's time to move to app or website product design and development to comprehend a procedure and specifications. You can use mood boards and different visuals so that your team could better grasp the idea.
Focus on the elements and design of your product.
We worked with Sage Express, an AI-driven data discovery tool. One of our challenges was to make the company recognizable. We rebranded their app and freshened the design so that the company's awareness has considerably increased.Design for SageExpress web application created by Arounda.
You should think of multiple cases of communication with the customer. Stay in touch with them and inform them about every step. Use graphics and text to help with temporary errors or let them know what to do after making an order. Try to predict all possible pleasant and unpleasant situations.
And keep testing out and experimenting. When designing the product, you can find better solutions. Don't be afraid to implement them. You never know before you try.
The product launch doesn't mean you can relax. More errors and bugs may appear later, even if now the product seems perfect. To be in the loop, you have to monitor and react to reviews.
62% of people who have a negative brand experience on mobile are less likely to proceed with conversions. Hence, communicate with your users and help them solve their problems. They will tell you of things to be improved. With this attitude to your audience, you'll be able to make a product better, hold the full interest of your audience, and engage with new users.
Let's look at how the product design process looks in reality.
We worked on a project for an Austrian food delivery company Velonto for over a year ago. It's a platform for food delivery and e-scooter and cyclist couriers who want to make extra money.
Our product design process has started with detailed research. We dived deeper into the food delivery niche in Austria to find out the main problems and track existing trends. Moreover, we got a peek at other countries to scrutinize their experiences in this industry.
Then, we interviewed founders and the team to listen to their ideas, understand goals and tasks in the market. It helped us build relevant visual (text, icons, graphics) communication with users in the app. We used a light color palette to make the user experience friendly. Based on the hypothesis, we highlighted key parts of the text to let customers order food.
As a result, the app had a simple and easy interface optimized for online interaction on desktops, tablets, and mobiles. With in-built CRM systems, it became possible to track the efficiency of the business and adjust different models. Our Arounda team has developed a high-quality, valid, and competitive app by successfully implementing all phases of the product design process.
All in all, the product design is a multi-step, creative, and long-lasting process, yet it is worth the effort. You can spend much time planning and testing, but develop a bug-free app to meet the marketing needs and stand out from competitors.
When you know the product design process and realize that you lack expertise and qualified specialists, our team can give you a hand. We at Arounda Digital Product Design Agency offer a vast array of services:
Web/Mobile app design
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