How to design a digital product that makes maximum market impact

by Hans Lambert Pedersen| Knowledge

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Digital product design involves more than visuals. Discover the definitions and how to design a digital product that exceeds consumer expectations.

If you’re satisfied with your digital product idea, the next natural step is to enter the design phase. Now, this is where things can get really exciting as you begin to see your vision take form.

But don’t assume digital product design is only how your product appears visually. Beyond compelling graphics and captivating colour combinations, this piece uncovers the many factors and variables to consider before a digital product design is (truly) ready for development. 

What is digital product design?

Let’s start with the basics. Digital product design is a process of trying to create technical solutions through digital mediums and devices that solve problems, meet requirements, or fulfil consumer desires.

User interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers work together to create imaginative ideas or transform existing digital products into functional and user-friendly interfaces.

All successful digital products must face a scrutable design process before final development and launch. However, what you’ll find is all three phases work simultaneously after the first stage for each is completed.

In a practical sense, digital product design is developing how your product delivers value to your user. Delivering value depends on who the user is and how they wish to use your product.

Effective digital product design will apply these principles within a strategy to create something that:

  1. Is intuitive
  2. That meets requirements
  3. Is easy to use and highly functional

How to design a digital product

Now for the juicy bit. Designing a digital product is a collaborative process involving various designers, developers, and key decision-makers of the brand. Here are some points to consider throughout the process.

Design with value in mind

Remember, your product is only cool when it makes your consumer feel cool. You can have the flashiest features in the world, but they have no value if they offer your user no value.

To ensure your digital product is valuable to enter the design phase, we recommend you apply the principles of:

  • Useful
  • Usable
  • Used

Consider this risk pyramid to check if your app idea fits the criteria of being of useful, usable, and used.

These principles will help you determine the level of risk and whether your digital product might need some adjustments before you invest in the design process. Remember, a product might be both useful and usable, but it might not be used.

As complicated as this might sound, it’s integral to the success of your digital product. So, don't overlook this integral test. It will define the success of your digital product.

For a simple evaluation of these key principles, read our blog – “I have an idea for an app but is it any good?”.

Product architecture

Once you’re assured of the value of your digital product, we can begin to initiate the product architecture. At this stage, we establish how the interactions of a design will function through a UX object model.

In any digital product, users will have a feature they can control and alter. So, ensuring these features stay relevant is essential to achieving a digital solution that can stand the test of time.

To help you measure the capabilities of your product, take a closer look at your UX object model. It should contain the following components:

  • Features your user can edit
  • How each feature works
  • How features connect within the model
  • What actions are available to the user

Defining the UX object model should be done by both the designer and brand as a collaborative solution to ensure all features are evaluated to gain a healthy consensus.

Feature map

The next stage for the product architecture is to create a feature map which contains every component within the digital product. Conduct your feature map alongside the UX object model to strengthen the consensus between decision-makers, developers, and designers.

Defining the feature map will help you understand what to prioritise through clear incentives within the full list of features.

Navigation structure

The final stage of your product architecture involves building a navigation structure based on your initial UX object model. Once again, the UX object model works as a blueprint to assess how all the information will work inside the product.

All the information should be based on thorough ethnographic user research and market surveys that clearly define the needs and requirements of your target audience.

Visually conceptualise the design

After mapping out the visual structure with the insights obtained via your product architecture, it’s time to bring your digital product design to life.

We suggest you conceptualise the interface in “low fidelity” to reveal the initial result. Providing a visual in “low fidelity” displays your concept and features to give you a taste of your product design before it’s ready for development.

Form a visual consensus

Finalise the outer structures of the design by creating wireframes of activities based on the UX object model. After finalising the conceptualisation of UI and UX design, apply the same process when designing the visual appearance of your digital product.

When forming a visual dialogue for the overall style, you should never underestimate the power of the mood board. This visual aid helps bring consensus for style and guidance during this phase of digital product design.

Remember to regularly review mood boards so you can avoid clouded judgements while opening the opportunity for further insights and creative inspiration. 

Develop a design system

Implementing the application is essential to translating the design into code. In the final stage of the design phase, you must clearly define the rules for the design system:

  • How the colours and fonts are applied
  • The state of each feature and how they interact
  • The behaviour of each feature
  • The design for each screen and responsive behaviour across all devices

Implementation

Now your design is ready for development, we enter the stage of implementation. Enrich your development by assessing user feedback from prototypes so you can add improvements.

When the product enters capacity for launch, it’s viewed as a minimum viable product (MVP), offering enough features for users to provide feedback for future product development.

No doubt, during implementation, some bugs will appear. It’s your main priority to identify these bugs and fix them effectively. The success of implementation is not necessarily about executing your digital product design immediately as much as being willing to adapt and evolve your product.

Facilitating the ability to adapt your product during implementation requires the applying the following processes:

  • Behavioural tracking – Track in-app user behaviours to understand usage and identify improvement areas.
  • A/B testing – Test the performance of different features or flow variations.
  • Product benchmarking – Use market research to draw future inspiration.

Apply these three processes to your MVP so you may further develop your product and improve the design.

Need any assistance with your digital product design?

At Stoked, we love the design phase of a digital product because our team get to harness their full digital product design capabilities. We bring expertise in UI and UX design before developing a consensus with your expectations and consumer requirements at the forefront of any design decision.

By working with us as an established digital product designer, we can ready your product for development before ensuring a successful launch through a simultaneous design and development service.

So, if you’re interested to put our design potential to the test, get in touch today.

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