Designing a product is never easy. Inevitably, you’ll encounter obstacles, resource shortages, and complications that you couldn’t have foreseen. This is why it’s so important that your team has the right tools to fall back on. Those tools are your design process.
In this post, we’ll explore the importance of having a design process in place and cover the design process steps that you can use with your development team.
What is a design process and why does it matter?
Product design encompasses everything that goes into the development of a new product. While we might think of it as just being the aesthetic elements of a product, it covers far more than that. In fact, the aesthetics of a product are often the least important aspect of the design process.
That’s because the majority of time spent developing a product is going to go into developing the functionality, form factor, marketing, and problem-solving capabilities of a product.
Product design seeks to create a product that has a simple, effective purpose. It removes excess, prevents confusion for the user, and results in a product that is sleek, effective, simple, and reliable. Just like you don’t want an ugly product, you don’t want a flashy product that doesn’t work or breaks after just a few uses.
The 4 design process steps you need to know
Every product design process follows the same set of steps — or it should do, at least.
The success of your product hinges on the success of your design process. By following the design process steps below, you can improve your chances of launching a product that users love.
1. Product discovery
The first step in the design process is product discovery. This is where you and your team will come up with the core concepts underlying your product. Namely, the idea is to decide which problem (or set of problems) you want to solve and who you want to solve these problems for.
Sometimes, this goal is abundantly clear. You know your exact audience and purpose for designing this product. Other times, however, you’ll find that you only have the vaguest sense of the answers to these questions.
If you find yourself in this latter camp, spend time doing research exercises. Think about the core purpose of this product (entertain, assist, build visibility, etc.) and do research to discover which groups are most interested in this kind of product. Come up with a hypothesis, test it, repeat.
2. Trim the excess
Once you’ve written down all of your ideas and have an idea of who your product might be for, it’s time to start trimming the excess. During this step of the design process, your goal is to get rid of any unnecessary ideas or details and find the core purpose and goal of your product.
A great way to do this is to start coming up with user personas. These are invented personas for the kinds of people who will use this product. Maybe it’s someone on your accounting team, a neighbour down the street, or a political advisor. Pick a demographic, occupation, and need for this person. Why do they want your product?
With a handful of personas in tow, go back to the ideas you created in Step 1 and start removing anything that doesn’t add value to the persona’s experience with your product.
3. Realise the vision with a prototype
Now that you’ve narrowed your ideas down to a core product you can design, you’re ready to start prototyping. A prototype should be as simple, fast, and cost-effective as possible to develop.
Whether you’re building a physical or digital product, remember that the prototype doesn’t need to be functional. It just needs to describe and demonstrate the core concepts of your product.
4. Start building your product
Lastly, start building your product! Remember to rely on all of the research and ideating you’ve conducted previously in your design process. Build the product, come up with your marketing approach, and prepare for launch!
Build your digital product today with Thunk
Have an idea for a digital product that you’re ready to get out of the design room? We can help you take the design process steps required to do just that. Reach out to the expert developers at Thunk today and see how we can help turn your vision into a reality.