AIt's a product designer, when someone asks you what you do, how many times have you received an empty look in response? Usually, the conversation ends there, or the other way around: spend ten minutes trying to explain what you do every day.
Product design is a nebulous term that does not accurately describe everything you do. You are a part researcher, a part designer, a part problem solver, a part project manager and a part marketer. How can you cover all this in a minute of an elevator?
This post will help explain the constituent elements of product design. We will explore the definition, the phases of the product design process and the roles involved in product design.
Related: 7 free resources that every designer needs
What is the product design?
If the design concerns problem solving, think of the product designer as the captain who guides the ship in search of the best solution for customers. It has a vision of the whole process, from defining the problems of real users to monitoring successful metrics.
Product designers wear lots of hats: they identify and validate problems, work in an inter-functional way to collect existing user data and create test plans to acquire new knowledge. Once the right data is acquired, they develop wireframes to explore possible solutions and prototype the best ideas to put before users for feedback.
Finally, they will support developers through the launch of the final product, work with marketing to create the right story and follow the success of the product once it is released in the wild.
The product design process
Not all companies will follow the exact same product design process. It could even change from one project to another. However, the main elements will remain the same: first you will collect research, brainstorm solutions, receive feedback on your prototypes and continue to monitor performance after launch.
Related: The role of art in product design
Here are seven common steps in the product design process:
- Define the product vision: Before the design process, even beings, it is necessary to understand why it is necessary to pursue the product in the first place. Creating a vision and a product strategy helps guide the entire team involved in the project, establishing a common understanding of what you are trying to build and why.
- Conduct product research: Once the vision is defined, collect user and market research to inform decisions about subsequent products. Conducting this research early can save time and resources in the long run, as fewer changes need to be made. Product search examples include user interviews, surveys and market research.
- Brainstorming and design: Based on the research you've discovered, it's time to discuss ideas to address the goals of your project and resolve critical customer points. You can follow many different techniques for conception, such as sketching, wireframing or storyboarding.
- Design and prototyping: At this point you should know what you want to build. During this phase, you will begin to create the solution and implement the concepts with the prototypes. Prototypes allow you to test the product before creating it completely, giving users something to react to in the next step. You can make low-fidelity or high-fidelity prototypes depending on the type of feedback you are looking for by users.
- Test and validation: In this phase, you will use your prototype to test and validate the concepts with users through usability tests. A high-fidelity prototype will let you dive deep into usability and workflows, while a low-fidelity prototype can help you validate the overall design concept (if you're using a low-fidelity prototype at this stage, you'll continue to design and iterate until you get a high-fidelity version to distribute to developers).
- To launch: Once you're happy with usability test results, you'll work with developers to create the product. You will also work closely with the marketing team to support the public launch, ensuring that value propositions and messages are consistent and accurate.
- Post-launch activity: The product design process does not stop at launch: it is in progress. You will work to understand how the entire user base interacts with the product, perform A / B testing and solicit regular customer feedback.
Tip: Use Freehand from InVision to wireframes, schedule project presentations and collect real-time feedback. All team members can share ideas in a way that makes sense to them, whether it's drawing, drawing, releasing images or typing their feedback into a comment box.
Tip: InVision Studio allows you to design, prototype and animate, all in one place. With flexible layers and an endless canvas, it is easy to turn ideas into powerful designs.
Related: 5 simple UX principles to guide product design
Who is involved in product design?
When the product is finally launched, there is a lot of credit to go around. Here is a list of common roles involved in the product design process. It is also worth noting that these roles could be individuals or more than one person could take on these tasks and responsibilities:
- Business strategies help you understand why this product or project must happen. They help to identify the value for the company behind every decision.
- Researchers of the user conduct design research and collect customer feedback to help inform the product.
- Data analysts collect and analyze huge amounts of data. They help manage A / B tests or dig into user behavior.
- prototypers bring your ideas to life before the final product is built. Quickly create interactive experiences that you can test and iterate.
- Designers focus on product graphics: what users will see. Graphic or visual designers deal with the appearance of beauty, working with illustrations, graphics, photos, colors and typography. Motion or animation designers work on the interactive elements of the product, such as page transitions.
- Product marketing understands how to bring the product to the market. They create the positioning and messaging of the product and identify how to guide the use of the product.
Product designers support great experiences
In a world where every company is struggling for loyal customers, product design is essential to make sure you stand out. You need someone to prioritize the user, look for his problems and build a product that solves these problems. You want to create an experience where users feel happy and appreciated and want to keep coming back.
This is the value of the product design.
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