Rick Farrell by Rick Farrell

Design Process: The 5 most common mistakes

  • Design Process

Designing something completely new from the ground up is exciting. You sketch on napkins, envision features in granular detail and bring the product to life in your head. You’ll undoubtedly encounter mistakes in this design process.

Before you know it, you’re ready to turn the idea into reality. But, bringing to life the physical product isn’t quite as simple as the hypothetical. After the initial napkin sketch phase, there’s a lot of room for error. 

You’ll go through conceptual sketching, product design, prototyping, low rate initial production, and final production. It can be a long process, but it’s easier by avoiding the common mistakes made in the design process.

Why is nailing down the design process important?

The design process guides teams in a structured way, ensuring that every box is ticked along the way. 

It decreases the risk of failure by making the team look at the reasons behind what they’re doing, rather than just doing it. Sure, you can make a great looking product by focusing on visuals alone, but if you don’t understand why you’re doing it, you can’t add value.

Many clients are unfamiliar with how design teams actually work. Teams can approach clients and set out clear expectations by sharing the design process with them, allowing you to set realistic deliverables and deadlines. This also helps put clients at ease, as you can offer a simple and digestible plan of action.

5 most common design mistakes

To assume any project is going to run without a hitch is a mistake. Some hitches just happen to be more expensive than others. 

Let’s look at some common mistakes in the design process:

Failing to understand user needs

There was a weird time when every product needed to bring something new to the table. 

Innovation was the name of the game, even when it didn’t add any value to the user. 

User-centricity is the key to creating great products that focus on offering value, rather than just adding features for the sake of adding features. 

Underestimating the importance of usability

Usability is a measure of how well a specific user in a specific context can use a product/design to achieve a defined goal. Products with great usability will help the user achieve the goal effectively, efficiently and in a way that offers satisfaction. 

Too often we see apps that are counterintuitive or have so many unnecessary features that performing the most simple tasks becomes a pain. 

Usability isn’t about simplicity. It’s about human-centricity. 

Design your products in a way that factors in the human aspect and you’ll find they perform far better than products designed without usability in mind. In fact, research shows that companies who put a core priority into a human-centred design seen a 211% higher ROI than the S&P 500.

Lack of testing

Testing is often looked at as a cash drain. And yes, skipping testing will save time and resources in the short term, but how many times has a product just worked as expected the first time round? 

Not very many. 

Testing may not be fun, it may take a lot of time and resources, but it can be much better than having to revisit product design based on user feedback when an untested product hits the market. 

Not utilising data

It has never been easier to gather consumer data. Researching your market, competitors and users should be one of the first steps of any project. However, all of those things are in a constant state of flux and failing to track changes throughout the development process can land you with a great initial idea that fails to address any of the current needs. 

A data-driven design process can help teams to tweak their work as they go to ensure that the product ticks every box for the end user.

Not contributing to trends

Most businesses would prefer to blaze a new trail rather than follow the crowd, but that doesn’t mean they should be ignoring current trends altogether. You can bring something new to the table that still works with what’s “in” right now. 

Keep on top of trends that dictate user behaviour and regular how users will respond to your design at one point or another. Trends often indicate bigger, deeper desires that can be a precursor to new projects.

Build your digital product today with Thunk

Have an idea for a digital product that you’re ready to take from napkin sketch to reality? We can guide you through the design process. Reach out and see how we can help bring your vision to life.