Post by
Nasir Uddin
Published
August 7, 2023
Last Updated
May 3, 2024
Catregory
Design Process

Have you ever wondered why some companies rise above their competitors despite having similar products? 

Facebook isn’t the only social media app, nor is Lux the only soap; we can observe their product life cycle is longer than that of their competitors.  Sometimes, a new product suddenly emerges, taking over competitors like TikTok. 

People will give numerous reasons if you ask them, but the most basic reason is their unique innovations. It didn’t just happen in one day; in-depth market research, competitor analysis, ideation, testing, iterating, and many more procedures are included, which I can call a short “product design process.”

The effectiveness of your design process will determine the chances of your product's success. How? The answer lies in the definition. 

What is The Product Design Process?

A product design process is a sequence of steps a product team follows to develop a design solution. It is a series of tasks that follow a product from conception to execution.  Here, you can see how to build a product from concept to a commercially available finished product for the intended consumer.

It includes a framework for discovering a market opportunity, establishing a clear problem, devising an appropriate solution, and verifying the solution with actual consumers. 

It employs a human-centered approach to transform the solutions to the targeted audience’s problems into a sustainable business model. Product design is an integrated approach to building a product from scratch, including the continuous development process to sustain itself in the market. In UX terms, it can also be called design thinking.

saas product design process
Example -digital product dashboard design

The Product Design Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

The product design needs a well-structured process to meet the expectations of the stakeholders. These typical steps can guide you to design a product that matches the user's expectations and helps it to align its objectives.

Step 1: Find Out the Purpose 

It’s crucial to understand the purpose of designing a product. Before doing anything, you must know what problems you are trying to solve through your product. So, ask yourself these questions in the very first phase of designing a product.

  • What problem are you going to solve? 
  • Is your concept able to add value?
  • Will it be sustainable?

When you know the answer to these questions, you are ready to proceed. Remember, most startups miss out on finding out the purpose before designing a product. As a result, the success rate of startups is terribly low.  

Step 2: Do A Comprehensive Product Research

Product research involves understanding market needs, analyzing competitors, tracking market trends, and recognizing user preferences. To uncover these insights, consider the following questions:

  • Does the market demand the product?
  • Who are your competitors, and how will you compete against them?
  • Can you outperform your competitors?
  • What shortcomings do current products have?
  • What preferences do stakeholders have for such a product?

To determine the product's market demand, analyze the performance of a similar existing product. Proceed by comprehensively studying your competitors—learn about their strategies and effectiveness.

Grocery Delivery App Design by Musemind

In the subsequent phase, pinpoint the deficiencies of your competitors to devise enhanced solutions. Finally, grasp the stakeholders' preferences towards the product. Do the current products fail to satisfy consumer preferences? Once you are ready with these answers, you'll be primed for the next phase.

Step 3: Create The User Persona

Creating a user persona revolves around understanding your target audience. This process essentially involves brainstorming, wherein you address key questions:

  1. Who is the intended user of your product?
  2. In what scenarios will they utilize the product?
  3. What are their requirements in such situations?

Tip: You can do online surveys and user research to find out the answers to these queries. 

online surveys

As you are done with product research, that means you know what problem you will solve with your product. Let’s say you want to solve the problem of a time crunch for a traffic-congested city. In this case, the individual using your product would likely be someone who is in a hurry and needs to reach their destination quickly. Here, you already have the answers to all three questions.

  1. User- looking to reach the destination 
  2. Scenario- In a hurry and stocked in traffic
  3. Requirement- need to bypass the traffic

Once you have reached this understanding, you are well-prepared to advance to the subsequent stage.

Step 4: Brainstorm and Ideate The Product

It's time to begin generating ideas for the actual product after finding the answers to the pre-design stage’s questions. This phase involves brainstorming and conceptualizing the product's gist. Consequently, several questions will arise at this point:

  • What features need to be included?
  • Will those features work effectively?
  • How should the product be visually designed?
  • What new elements can outperform existing products?

These questions are crucial for this phase. To address these questions, you must harness your thinking abilities. Being empathic is crucial for doing it properly. This will result in a wide range of ideas.

Ecommerce Web Application Design by Musemind

After generating many ideas, the next step is to filter and narrow down the ideas into the best, most practical, or most innovative ones. This involves evaluating the ideas based on their feasibility, alignment with the product's goals, and potential to address the identified problems.

Following the brainstorming process, you will arrive at the core concept of the actual product. This will prepare you for the next step.

Step 5: Design The Actual Product

While designing the actual product, you must go through different structural processes. Let’s see what those processes are. 

Information architecture/ Visual site map: Create and document an information architecture. Next, generate visual site maps using pen and paper or design tools based on your preference. This process will help you identify navigational issues and any missing pages.

By developing a sitemap for your product, you can gain a bird's-eye view of its navigation and features. This will reduce errors and prevent overlooking essential components.

CRM Dashboard Design by Musemind

Wireframing: With the concept of the previous phase, make a low-fidelity wireframe.  Begin by sketching it out on paper. Various design tools, such as Figma, Sketch, and InVision, offer a whiteboard feature that can be used as an alternative to traditional pen and paper.

Once the low-fidelity wireframe has been prepared, take the opportunity to review it. This step will aid in identifying any initial errors or oversights. If you are working within an organization, consider sharing it with cross-functional teams, allowing for a thorough examination of the wireframe. After identifying any errors or missing components, proceed to develop the high-fidelity wireframe using design tools.

High-fidelity wireframes take your sketches up a notch by adding detailed design elements like accurate UI placement, typography, colors, and even realistic content. They're like polished previews of the final product, showing you how it'll look and function.

You will add these key features in the high-fidelity wireframe:

  • Detailed UI: Precise buttons, images, input fields, etc.
  • Visual Design: Color, typography, and style aligned with the final design.
  • Realistic Content: Actual or lifelike text images for authenticity.
  • Interaction: Display user interface response and navigation.
  • Notes: Clarifications on design, interaction, and functionality.
  • UX: Micro interactions, animations, and responsive design may be present.

Having completed the high-fidelity wireframe, examine it further. Find out the missing elements. Share it with a cross-functional team. Do further research. Check feasibility and determine the scope of improvement.

Mockup: With the findings from the wireframing, build a mockup of the product. The mockup is a more detailed version. It’s a visual representation of a design, often used in product design. It provides a tangible way to showcase a final product's appearance without needing full development. 

Here are the elements you will add in the mockup stage:

  • Creative scene setting
  • Realistic design inclusion
  • Interactions and transition elements
  • Triggers and motion elements
  • Functionality and sound elements
  • Visual and UI elements
  • Typography

Mockups are used to convey the overall layout, structure, and visual elements of a design. It allows stakeholders to visualize and understand the design concept before investing time and resources into actual implementation. The mockup will show you whether the product can meet the user's needs. Additionally, you'll get a basic understanding of the user's experience and usability issues.

Once these issues are identified, you are up for designing a full, detailed product version. 

Prototype: A prototype represents the interactive and functional rendition of a product. After working on a mockup and incorporating the insights from that phase, your next step involves crafting an interactive product version. The key focus here lies in shaping its functionality. Essentially, a prototype mirrors the nearest form of the end product.

Once the prototype is ready, it's time to test its functionality and usability, gathering client and stakeholder feedback. Subsequently, you can fine-tune your design based on the feedback received.

Following the refinement process stemming from the prototype stage, you can then proceed to create the final product.

Step 6: Test And Validate The Product

Tests and validation of the product are the most important parts after design. It is crucial to know if the product meets the requirements and specifications. A lot of things are involved with it. Here is how it works: 

Design Verification: Design verification confirms that the product design meets the specified requirements and specifications. It involves checking the design against your set standards and ensuring that it performs as required. Some methods used in design verification include inspection, demonstration, physical testing, and simulation. The goal of design verification is to provide objective evidence that the design meets the defined criteria.

Design Validation: Design validation is the process of testing the final product to ensure that it meets the specific needs of the customer or end-users. It focuses on establishing the accuracy and reliability of the design to the user's demands. Design validation involves constructing a version of the product and evaluating it against the customer's requirements. This step includes testing, observation, and evaluation to determine if the product meets the set standards and addresses user needs.

Step 7: Iterate and Refine The Product

Once you've tested and validated your digital product, the key is to iterate and refine continuously. Start by gathering feedback from users and analyzing data to identify areas for improvement. 

Then, prioritize the most critical issues and make targeted enhancements. Keep the changes small and focused to avoid overwhelming users. Regularly test these updates and gather feedback again. 

This iterative process allows you to respond quickly to user needs and preferences. Be agile and flexible, adjusting your product based on real-world usage. By consistently refining and iterating, you ensure your digital product stays relevant and continues to meet user expectations over time.

Conclusion 

According to research conducted in 2018, organizations that performed best in design experienced average revenue growth that was 32% higher than their rivals over five years. They also had a 56% higher shareholder return during the same time span.

Making things pretty is only one aspect of the design process. Design is the method of discovering and satisfying needs and expectations by developing a product or service, either physical, digital or a combination of the two.

Hopefully, the steps discussed in the article will help you attain your goals to come up with innovative solutions and improve people’s lives with your products and services.

Table of Contents
Nasir Uddin
CEO at Musemind
Nasir Uddin, Co-Founder and CEO at Musemind, brings over a decade of experience in dynamic UX design. With a background at prestigious companies like Panther, On Deck, Microsoft, and Motley Fool. His leadership has transformed Musemind into a trusted destination for comprehensive product design solutions.
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