In the UX world, product design is the ideation, creation and iteration of a product that is intended and developed with its users in mind. Product designers will be responsible for user experience, user research, data analysis and much more, which is why their role is crucial.
Good product design is essential when creating a product that gives a great user experience and therefore leads to brand loyalty. For example, products by Apple are famous for their usability and design. Hence, it’s unsurprising that Apple holds over 40% of the US smartphone market and has 87% brand loyalty across the US and Europe.
Every step in owning an Apple product, from going to the store to collect your product to opening the box and setting up your new device, offers a unique experience. Each step has been carefully created to give a unique ‘feel’ which is then finished with a well-considered and intuitive UX design that keeps customers coming back for more.
Whether you’re creating a new product from the ground up or making adjustments to an existing one, there are specific steps you should always take to ensure that your product design process is smooth and yields successful results.
Following a user centric approach is essential when designing new products or creating a new service design, mainly because product design does not often follow a linear path. More often than not, you’ll make new discoveries along the design journey or come across new information, which means you need to be flexible and ready to adapt to get the best result.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the top three steps you shouldn’t miss throughout your product design.
- Market Research and User Research
Market research is an essential first step when designing any product, whether it is a tangible or a digital product. Online UX research, market research focuses on uncovering trends in purchasing behaviour and customer preferences when it comes to products and messaging. Market research will help product designers identify customer segments or opinions that could influence product uptake when it hits the market.
On the other hand, UX research happens on a smaller scale than market research, giving insight into how users behave.
Before designing any product, it is important to conduct market and user research to assess customer needs, preferences and behaviours. This will help you determine what features your product should have and how it can best meet customer needs and provide helpful insight into how this product should be marketed. Product designers can set themselves up for success by beginning their design phase with as much information and knowledge to draw from as possible.
The research phase also offers an opportunity to perform some competitor research. Researching the competition is also important for understanding the landscape of similar products, their features and pricing structures. It can help product designers create unique and innovative products that can take advantage of any potential gaps in the market.
- User Experience Testing
Knowing that a product works correctly isn’t enough — the user experience must be engaging, intuitive, and easy to use. This is where user experience testing comes in.
After launching a product (or even before), product designers should get user feedback by conducting user experience tests. The UX Design Institute describes UX testing as being ‘directly tied to the value of good UX itself’. This is because it allows users to interact with and assess the product in real time. UX tests enable designers to get a sense of how users are experiencing the product, how easy or difficult they find it to use, what features they like or don’t like and much more. By viewing user feedback from actual customers, designers can make improvements that will help ensure that users are getting a good experience out of the product.
Once your product is launched and used, product designers should track user behaviour and analyse metrics to gain insights into customer usage patterns. This will help to determine if any changes should be made after product launch, such as improving product performance or making adjustments to the interface. Additionally, tracking analytics and conducting further user research will tell you how customers are engaging with your product and give you an indication of user satisfaction levels. Using data-driven insights when it comes to product design can help designers improve the overall user experience and make more informed decisions about future updates and feature releases, and with a wealth of digital resources at our hands to collate these insights there is no excuse not to use data to create better products.
Product design is a complex process that requires plenty of research, testing and data analysis. By following these three steps, product designers can begin on a journey to ensure successful end-products that meet customer needs and provide an enjoyable end-user experience that will keep users coming back for more.