Many people might think that product design is aimed at creating something cool-looking. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The designer’s mission is to understand people’s pains and try to mitigate them with a beautifully and smartly designed product.
To build a product that will be surely loved by people, you need to plan the exact steps which the users go through. The product designer’s nightmare starts when people use a product just once or twice without becoming engaged at all. Our product design team decided to share expert knowledge on how to avoid pitfalls on the way to creating a successful product.
Step #1. Effective product discovery
This step means that you need to find the right solution to the right problem makes up much of the product’s success. In order to design a product which helps people, you should know their pains.
To create a useful product, you should investigate the audience you’re creating for. Get acquainted with these people and try to learn about their desires, pains, and habits as in the real world. You can conduct some research: interviews, online research, diary studies or fieldwork.
Before you start building a useful product, you need to answer a few crucial questions:
- What customer insights do you have?
- What problems do these people face?
- How can you turn these insights into feature or product ideas?
- How are you going to experiment with these ideas and do prototyping and testing?
- How will the final product work in real life?
Step #2. Make tea and get your team together to share your findings
After the above-mentioned research, the time comes to sum up the lessons and define a product design strategy.
As Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. Your main task is to get everyone in the team involved and become aware of all the findings made by other teammates.
Our product designers pay particular attention to creating a customer persona and customer journey. A process of defining a customer persona helps us to approach our target audience and its segments. It results in the customer journey diagram. We use different columns to showcase all the phases and steps in the product user experience. Mostly, these columns describe what a user does and feels before, during, and after using a product.
Step #3. Storm your collective team’s brain
Now, every team member is aware of the findings made by the whole team. It’s high time to start a brainstorming session!
In the beginning, was the Word, and the Word was with The Creator, and the Word was The Creator. To be a designer means to be a creator. And the Word, in the beginning, means the word said during your brainstorming.
The more people are involved, the more brilliant ideas you will get as a result. Define which features your product should have to be able to solve your audience’s problems. Try to find as many possible feature ideas as you can. At this stage, a true creating process starts.
The product strategy will contain the list of the features you will build first. With that feature list, you can start a prototyping phase.
Step #4. It’s time for prototyping
After you created a list of product features, try to generate as many design ideas for each feature as possible. You can start with some quick hand-drawn sketches. Most commonly these sketches require only line drawings and rough text. Then you can build wireframes and clickable prototypes for the app.
Keep in mind, that the main goal of prototyping is to build something you can easily and fastly test with the real people. User testing plays a more important role that you can think. After you have tested a prototype… test it again.
This will help you get the feedback needed to create a product that will be intuitively understood for users.
After testing the product and modifying your prototypes, you can finally move forward to the pixel-perfect, colorful, detailed design plans.
Step #5: Cook a secret sauce
Product designers work on three levels: visual part, usability, and usefulness.
Visual design involves the aesthetic constituent of a product. How it looks and feels. It conveys a sense of style, brand philosophy, and artistic harmony.
Usability means that designers strive to make products easy to understand and interact with. It involves prototyping, user testing, and other processes aiming to create a smooth user experience.
Usefulness is about defining which features a product needs to be able to solve the customer’s pains. This level constitutes a strategic part of product design.
You might ask where is a secret sauce here. The trick is a great product designer does well on all three levels. That means that to draw a nice looking website and mobile app is not enough for creating a great digital product. You should have the right tools and methods to ensure that your product works smoothly.
Our design team has to admit, the story of product design never ends: we continuously do research to discover customer pain points and build prototypes and test the new prototypes to solve them. Anyway, we hope that these few tips will help you build a product that will become quickly-loved by your target audience.