Define, Design, Refine: A step-by-step guide on Product Design

Netbramha Studios

April 18, 2017
Define, Design, Refine: A step-by-step guide on Product Design

What is Product Design?

Developing a product design can be tedious, time-consuming and doubtful journey as you traverse in the unknown of the reciprocation of market demands, user needs and business goals.

This post is here to help you define a step by step guide to create products which will help you merge the true senses of market demands, user needs and still keeping your business goals intact.

“Product Design is an unknown territory unless validated”

One of the primary questions asked to me in my Sales Pitch is why RESEARCH, we know our customers best.

If you are of the same opinion dig deeper, answer the below question and it will help you in defining the same for you.

  1. Who am I making the product for?
  2. What is my business hypothesis?
  3. Have I validated my hypothesis with any end users?
  4. Are all business stakeholders on the same page with regards to the product needs?
  5. Do we know the needs and wants of our user.

The validation of the above question is what is needed from a research outcome which not only helps to answer these pertinent question before you put in the big bucks for product development but also helps you in identifying with your customers.

So the question is how do we plan to research?

Research planning for product design

Research is one of the activities which requires a careful evaluation of many unknown and put them in perspective to the internal stakeholders and user; merging the goals and needs which defines a definitive product roadmap.

Here are the steps.

  1. Define Users What are the age groups, what are their identifiers, what motivates or demotivates them.
  2. Define Geography Where I am going to take the product. Is it focussed on one geography or am I making a Global product?
  3. Define the Sample Size What is the size of my market across geographies and age group. Sample Size is an imprecise science. All you need to consider is the number of hypothetical functionality affecting the percentage of the user. The larger the base your sample size could be lesser but if you are going with specific functionality with effect of lesser number of audience you need to talk to larger audience
  4. Define Primary Methodologies See what methodologies suit your need. The methodology implementation is varied in nature based on the kind of sample size you pick and the product’s nature. If you are a B2C company targeting one on one customers then having one on one interviews would be good while if you have decision making happening in a group or in a pair then define Focused Group or paired interviews.
  5. Define Secondary Methodologies Do you know what your competitors are doing? How are they solving the same problem you are trying to solve? If Not, go through a round of Usability Testing with experts and they will help you define the same.
  6. Enjoy the process Most of the time, I have realized in a rush to launch the product people don’t enjoy the research phase. While this phase is the real taste of market, user behavior and helps you contextually place the product in the mindset of your target audience.Once, you are through with the Research, define a roadmap that aligns to your launch goals.Take a look at few of the steps you could take:
  7. Define the Business Needs Take from the hypothesis document you created prior to the research journey
  8. Define Customer Needs Converge your outcomes to few meaningful action items for the designers
  9. Converge Business and Customer Needs Put both the needs in perspective and do an analysis of the primary functionalities that user wants. Here is where you defined your MVP. Rest of the functionalities makes the Phase 2, 3 and so on of your product.
  10. Define Personas Persona definition helps the designer in designing the product for the stereotypical image you defined. It also helps in relating to a person. The persona hence defined should be a person to whom if catered you solve 90% problems of the users.
  11. Define the Roadmap For the Persona defined, merge the functionality for MVP and then define Ph 2 and onwards

“Once you have defined the Roadmap. BE INVOLVED in the design process. Yes, the designer would use his best judgment but if the business is not involved in helping them later you would find discrepancies”

Critical elements of the process

Designers would start from the INFORMATION ARCHITECTURE laying out the entire product in front of you with the usage of various tools. This step is needed to help arrive at a concentrated effort of not missing out on any pieces planned and from here you could jump to Low Fidelity or High Fidelity Wireframe.

Wireframe are the information layout for you to visualize how the product would be perceived but from here a good idea would be to go back to the sample users you chose for the research and ask them for going through them while the Researcher analyzes the behavioral patterns.

The pattern which emerges from this study is the most important feedback which defines the overall experience for your user. Normally, research would chalk the experience of each user in a journey map which defines the emotional journey your user is going through.

From here on it is a constant refinement of the design and you finally start with Development of the same whether on Mobile or Web!

ll in all, as a business owner you should be concerned of the bucks you are spending and if they are going in the right direction. Because the shortcuts you take at the start of the journey would have longer term impacts on your final products and hence the financials.BE WISE. Listen to the experts and get help in building products from someone who understands the

“BE WISE. Listen to the experts and get help in building products from someone who understands the nitty-gritty of the process”

I hope this read helps all of you in planning for the future of your products and hence saving some money.

I look forward to hearing your approaches, feedbacks or comments.

Thanks for reading!