Decades ago, the concept of product design was only limited to physical products. Now the very idea of a product has changed to digital and industrial design.
Design sets companies apart by giving them an edge over others. The RoI on UX (customer experience) investments is 9,900 per cent, and by improving customer experience, KPIs can be increased by over 80 per cent. Hence, a well-designed product just makes good business sense.
Product design is the multi-disciplinary approach of identifying real users and their problems and designing solutions to those problems. Ideally, the management, designer, developer and product manager should be working as a team to understand product requirements.
Whether you are a designer, developer, marketer, founder or product manager, it is imperative to know what goes into product development and what makes it good or bad.
We can assume that design and customer experience are today’s sole differentiators for a customer. Around 70 per cent of online businesses fall through because of bad UX. When businesses fail to account for it — doesn’t matter if you’re a scrappy start-up or multi-trillion-dollar tech company, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Some basic points to keep in mind when designing a product:
Design thinking is the foundation
Design thinking as a method helps you find practical resolutions to problems faced by your users and potential users. It’s an approach to innovation that is based on methods that integrate people’s needs, the possibilities of current technology and the requirements for business success.
Successful products have always used design thinking, whether physical or digital products because it’s focused on end-to-end product development and not just the ‘design phase’. Find a clear purpose and make that purpose apparent through your product’s design.
Document current and future user flows
It’s not only about a product’s look and feel, it’s about the overall interaction process and how users experience it from discovery to completion. It’s crucial you review the current experience of users, whether they are using your or competitor’s products or none at all. This helps to understand the focus area of the product and its impact on users and identify improvement areas immediately.
User flows are helpful when looking at customer journeys through an experience. They keep visuals from distracting team discussions and focus on the customers’ flow through the product. They make it easy to brainstorm and communicate decision points of crucial interaction moments.
Get users involved
Many founders, product designers and managers think they know their users. That is the biggest mistake when designing a product. Just 1 per cent of people say that ecommerce sites meet their expectations. Involve real users early in your design process by selecting methods to validate and test your progress such as surveys, user interviews, focus groups, etc.
Optimise the product further through prototype testing, eye-tracking and more. An effectively designed product creates a frictionless experience that seamlessly integrates into users’ lives
Common product design mistakes
Underestimating the impact of ‘small’ improvements There are times when the product team learns about new constraints and business needs that affect the experience. These constraints can change the product requirements and ultimately affect the problem you’re trying to solve. Remember to document these because even ‘small’ requirement changes can lead to huge gaps in the experience. For example, it’s reported that a one-second delay in page response results in a 7 per cent reduction in conversions.
Incorporating everyone’s feedback
Don’t commit the mistake of treating every piece of feedback as essential in the user experience no matter how high up the chain it comes from. Incorporating too much feedback can cause delays in going live and make you question your pre-considered solutions. Test with users, and incorporate their feedback as they are the ones that matter more.
Being afraid to start over
Sometimes you just aren’t going in the right direction. Maybe the product has changed, you’re missing a key piece of information, or there wasn’t enough initial research. Whatever the case, you can get to the solution faster and more efficiently by starting over.