Every now and then I would be encountered with the question, What’s the next big in user experience and for which I reply in a word is a “product design“.
Today, We stand at the juncture of ever-changing user needs and so the technology is rapidly evolving to keep up with the business, user needs. The first computer was invented between 1936 to 38 but Nobody has ever visualized that the technology would grow ten folds within a span of 70 years where people are reaping the benefits of automation like Voice over devices like Alexa and Dot, IoT devices making it possible to complete home automation by phones, Chatbots / virtual assistant answering queries instantly without the need for customer care.
With the advent of technological shift, even the interaction with the application of the end-users is changing so there is a growing demand of the usability experts.
The next big thing in user experience is the product design,
So what’s really is product design?
Product designing is a way of solving a user’s problem, visualizing the user’s problems and bringing a solution. Product design goes through an analytical approach and relies on problem-solving techniques to improve the quality of the interaction of the user with the product and its surroundings. Product design involves various forms of sketching and prototyping to address the problem statement and designing a solution to solve it.
The main difference between user experience design and product design from bird view angle is that user experience advocates more about the user whereas product design along with the user focuses on the user interaction with its surroundings. The product design advocates on user needs, business requirements at the organization level.
The product design process involves the following phases.
1. Product Discovery:
Once the need for the product is identified, forming an idea is the most critical step involved in the product discovery phase. The discovery phase involves steps for discovering the product.
- Ideation: These ideas may have originated from a variety of sources which are internal and external to an organization either by Market research, Sales team, marketing, Research & Development teams. Each of these sources gives a different emphasis on the idea of the product. The ideas are then screened and chosen to be conceptualized.
- Research: Once the product is ideated, Research involves user and market research that lays the basis for great design. To maximize the chances of success it is recommended to conduct the research in a conducive environment bringing to the table data that are insightful for making decisions and reducing wastage.
2. Product Definition:
After thorough research, try to make sense of the data collected from the earlier phase. The aim of the product definition phase is to document the product vision, personas, user journey maps from the data collected and analyzed.
- Product vision: It describes why the product is being built, how it will help your customers and achieve the strategic goals of an organization.
- Personas: Personas help teams to understand user’s goals in a specific context and its purpose is to create a reliable and realistic representation of key audience segments.
- User Journey Maps: A user journey maps are a visual representation of a path taken by the user to accomplish a specific goal. Typically, It’s a series of steps in which the user interacts with a product.
3. Product Design:
This phase is where the product is designed basis for the discovery and definition phase. It is concerned with how the product is made incorporating both form and function. This phase is constituted by information architecture and prototypes.
- Information Architecture: Information architecture is the structure of the product resulting in the creation of navigation, hierarchies, and categories. This helps the user to see the information grouped in the product where they are.
- Prototype: A prototype is a visual guide representing a page structure, it’s elements and hierarchy. It forms the backbone of the product design.
4. Product Validation:
The product design that has been resulted through the design phase has to be validated by the actual users through a variety of usability testing techniques. The feedback from the usability testing is iterated to refine the design. Usually, good design leads to product success and a bad design is incrementally iterated to perfect the design which is acceptable by the end-users.
In order for the companies to succeed, it is imperative that they launch great products that have a great design. So, the organization has to amend rigorous training to its designer team in imbibing the product thinking approach which results in great product designs that result in the success of their products.