Product Design Process: An Ultimate Guide

Dariia Khomych
Chief Design Officer at Limeup
product design process 5

Now digital product design is an opportunity to adjust to the needs of the audience and create products and services that will be in demand. This process involves professionals creating technical solutions based on customer requirements, their preferences and feelings.

Product design process includes several stages. The most important is to understand the consumers of your product. It is also essential to determine what exactly they want to see. Further work will be built on this basis. Thanks to the work of a professional it will be possible to attract a new audience, to increase the value of the company, to show that the brand does not stand still. Professional product design agency will help clients to solve any problems. This will allow it to attract a new audience and bring income to a new level.

Various digital novelties are created to make our everyday life easier. Therefore, the process of product design assumes that the specialist will work with what we "consume" almost every day. For example:

  • various computer programs;
  • software for the operation of technology;
  • applications;
  • games.

So, digital product design is a design process that is used to fix problems with functionality. The professional who deals with the problem carefully examines it and offers his own solutions. In particular, he helps bring the product to a specific market.

Product strategy

This is one of the most important stages. And it begins even before the real work on the project starts. Initially, it is quite important to understand the context in which it will exist and function. In fact, you need to think about your strategy, as well as a vision for the future product. This will at least minimally understand how relevant it is to the audience, whether it is worth continuing to develop it.

Quite often, some employees have to deal with projects where there is no clear vision. Because of this, the product design process becomes almost senseless. If a specialist only has a rough understanding of his task and the general concept of the project, it is obviously not enough to achieve the desired result. This scenario is very common. Fortunately, recently the situation is gradually changing for the better.

So, to understand how to design a product, it is important to have a vision, a concept. This will allow you to give a direction to the whole project, in which it will continue to evolve. At this stage, it is necessary to understand what processes and features are critical. Knowing this information will allow you to get started and move in the right direction. Having a common vision and understanding the details helps to find an answer to a very important question – what task the specialist is solving and why he is doing it. Therefore, it is necessary to define the boundaries of the project. This will allow you to focus on the tasks that are really aimed at achieving the goal.

However, knowledge is only one of the steps of product design. A strategy is also very important. Relying on it, you can determine the way in which the product will be further developed. So, the overall vision of the concept allows you to define a final or at least an intermediate goal. It is crucial to work not in vain, but to achieve results. Forming a goal is extremely important. It helps you define exactly what you are aiming for. This will also allow you to:
digital product design process

  • Create a list of steps in product design process. When a task is broken down into certain steps, its solution automatically becomes easier. If you gradually move towards the goal and do not miss anything, the achievement of a positive result will be a reality. The experience of many other projects and products only confirms this.
  • Adjust your efforts to achieve the goals. For example, you can do a little revision and see if mistakes were previously made. Also, if you already understand what is necessary, it is easier to narrow down the scope. Thanks to this you will be able to avoid doing many unnecessary tasks. This will allow you to rationalize your time and ensure that the process of product design will really bring results that will not disappoint.
  • Plan the next steps of work. You will be able to understand what to do, how and when. Such understanding is important for any professional. It will allow you to complete the tasks step by step, and the result will certainly leave you not frustrated.

It is important to understand that the irrational use of time is the main enemy of a specialist. Therefore, even at the preliminary stage, it is necessary to assess everything, to think it through. Thanks to this in the future, when work on the project will begin at full capacity, there won’t be stagnation or interruptions. You will be able to gradually achieve the desired result. That’s why professionalism and preliminary analysis are so important. It’s easy to see that now from your own experience.

Value proposition

Now we can move on to the next step. This will be the definition of the value proposition. Among the product design steps it plays a critical role. It’s the value proposition that gives you the final say in who your product is created for. This is important, because you need to know the final consumer. Therefore, it is necessary to understand:

steps in product design process

  • When the product will be used.
  • Where it will be used. It is vital to understand the main areas, their characteristics. This will allow you to better define what tasks the “product” should solve.
  • For whom it is intended. If you know the “portrait of the user”, you can create a development that takes into account all his preferences.

In general, the value proposition is one of the most important product design process steps. Thanks to it, the team that works on the project, as well as other interested parties, can reach a common vision of how exactly the product will be arranged. This will help to start working and progressively achieve the desired result.

Initially, it is important to define a minimum set of requirements and characteristics that exactly should be in the finished product. This will allow you to understand exactly what work should not be missed. The main thing is that these minimum requirements really correspond to the overall objectives.

One of the steps in the product design process is to create a press release. It will tell in simple and accessible language, what the novelty is, what problems it can solve. This is the kind of message the audience usually wants to receive. It is important to demonstrate the importance of the product, its uniqueness, as well as:

  • Competitive advantages. This is especially important if similar developments already exist. Product design process is aimed, among other things, at uniqueness. Each novelty should get its own features. This will justify its existence and potential users will have no doubts about the rationality of the made choice in the future
  • The importance of development. At the same time, pompousness should be avoided. It is necessary simply to demonstrate that the new product is aimed at a real solution to a problem, or that it makes certain operations noticeably faster, more convenient.

It is also important to distribute the press release to your team members. That way, they will constantly keep the product in mind, presenting it better. Therefore, among the design process steps, you definitely shouldn’t forget about this one either.

If giving advice to professionals when preparing a press release, it is important to remember that the first thing you need to do when drafting it is to focus on the problems and needs of the client. It is important to touch his values. On the one hand, this will allow you to attract the attention of those who are potentially interested in the product, and on the other hand, you will better understand your own objectives.

One of the steps of product design is to provide a press release to a potential customer. After reading it, he will certainly be able to indicate what he wanted to see in the document. Be sure to talk to someone who is interested in solving the problem, because he will point out the real weaknesses. In addition, it will be possible to better understand the needs of the audience. All of this is extremely important to the ultimate goal.

It is also necessary to clearly and precisely spell out all the advantages. This will make the product stand out from the competitors. As a result, the potential client will not have a question as to why it should be used. At the same time, it is important to understand that the press release should not be too long and bloated. Even interested clients don’t devote much time to it.

Therefore, you should briefly and concisely talk about the problem and its solution. One page is usually enough to demonstrate the competitive advantages of your “product”. In general, during the process of product design, the creation of a press release and the ability to succinctly deliver information are highly valued.

This should be analogous to the reference material, which, on the one hand, will explain to potential buyers what exactly you offer. On the other hand, it will become a guide for further action. The most important thing is that you will have a final stated goal, which will help you work on the project.

User research

The best way to get to know your potential customer is to conduct a full interview with him. This plays a critical role in the product design process. A direct dialogue is an opportunity to see the real end user. In any case, this will allow you to determine their moods and preferences. And the interview should be conducted both before the release of the product and afterwards. Subsequent communication will help to further examine possible vulnerabilities and shortcomings.

In general, to make sure that the steps in product design process do not cause problems and the interview is successful, it is important to keep in mind some requirements. For example:

  • The length of the conversation. Ideally, it should last 30-60 minutes. On the one hand, this is enough to get answers to the main questions, and on the other hand, the respondent will not be too tired.
  • Try to make the interview personal. To make a digital product design a success, it is important to feel all the desires of the client. Face-to-face communication is always better than a virtual one, or reading the words and wishes afterwards.
  • Think through all the questions in advance. It’s better not to improvise, but clearly understand what answers you want to get. This is important in the context of problem solving. When doing so, also let the respondent put in his remarks. This will allow you to learn about additional features that the consumers need.

Although face-to-face communication is better, online surveys are now becoming more and more in demand. They are faster and allow you to cover a wide audience. Technology doesn’t stand still and makes design process steps faster.

If you do an online survey, it’s best to research the data in a generalized format. This will allow for a perfect understanding of general sentiments and preferences. If potential customers have specific wishes, preferences or recommendations, they should definitely express them. It is quite possible that it will make the design a product more qualitative and useful.

Market research

Among the steps in product design process, you also can’t get past the study of competitors and their features. It is important to remember that the product must be unique. Therefore, it is necessary to understand what is already being offered and what is fundamentally new that you can offer. This is the key to the further popularity of your product. Conducting market research will allow you to understand what competitive advantages you should have.
You need to pay attention to your competitors. You need to create something fundamentally new, while not missing their previous developments. This is the key to creating developments that will turn out to be really in demand. This way, you can understand exactly what options the development should have.

In general, during the process of product design, it is important to understand that competitors are divided into 2 main segments:

  • Direct. These are companies which offer services that are very similar to yours. They compete in terms of features, values and other parameters.
  • Indirect. You will share the client base with them first of all.

process of product design

Obviously, it is important to analyze everything in order to achieve a positive result. This will allow you to better understand the general mood and situation. As a result, the product design process will be more successful. You will surely be able to offer clients something they have been looking for over a long period of time.

As for your competitors, it will probably not be hard to find most of them. There is also the possibility that a number of companies will be named to you by respondents during the interview. You should pay special attention to them, because it is not easy to earn the loyalty of an audience. In order to increase the efficiency of your research, write down all the data about your competitors in a table. Note their advantages and other important factors. As a result, the product design and development process will be more effective and productive. You will increase the probability that you will create something fundamentally new.

Researching the competitors is a process that should never stop or be interrupted. The market situation is constantly changing and you have to be ready for it. It is the key to creating a really high quality and in-demand product. That is how our company works. Here the product design services are provided for a long time. Due to this the result will not disappoint potential customers. Contact us, because the price and quality will certainly please you.

Data collection

As already mentioned above, all the data you receive need to be systematized. This will make the digital product design process more organized. This approach will definitely appeal to those who are used to rationalizing their time and seeing clear criteria.
In general, it can be recommended to make lists, use tables, keep records in other ways. Now there are really a lot of options for systematizing data.

Naturally, the most noteworthy moments or aspects should be highlighted. Underline them, mark with color. All this will come in handy in the future. Actual answers from respondents will tell you how to design a product. They will often indicate exactly what they need, what features and benefits they expect to see. Straightforward and clear answers are exactly what you need.

As for competitor research, it can also be very illustrative. You will be able to better understand why they have attracted a new audience and what competitive advantages they provide. All this will make further product design process more convenient, efficient, and productive. It’s easy to see for yourself.

Data analysis

product design and development process

It is important not just to get information, but to be able to interpret it correctly. Based on the data you receive, you need to understand what exactly the audience is waiting for, what revolutionary benefits. This will allow you to develop a further strategy for working on the project.

In general, if you obtained quantitative data, it is better to use automatic systems for their analysis. They will help you get the answers in the form of charts. This will give a more illustrative look at what customers want or what competitors are offering. Such visibility is important in the process of product design. It will help to define goals, objectives more clearly. As a result, the achievement of the declared result will be feasible.

Structure Planning

The next important step is structure planning. It will allow you to understand how the final product will look like in the end. The most important thing at this stage it is possible to build a clear plan, an understanding of how everything will happen step by step. This is very important, because you can break down one big task into many small ones. This is essential so that the product design process turns out to be not just fun, but also effective.

Planning involves developing a clear methodology, a sequence of actions. If you have it, you won’t make mistakes and you’ll be able to solve all the tasks in a consistent way. This will make them convenient and easy to perform.

Idea Validation

The next of the product design process steps is validation. Without this step, it is impossible to achieve a result. Validation is a process that involves testing a particular product or service in various ways. This will allow a better understanding of how they are adapted to perform certain operations.

Testing should usually be done at a preliminary stage. This will allow you to understand how well everything works so far, whether it is worth developing the idea further. In addition, you will be able to better realize what kind of revisions the product needs. You can make timely adjustments in the design process steps. In addition, you can avoid additional costs.

Validation is important because it helps to get answers to many popular questions. For example:

  • Does the product help to solve the real problem that exists? This will allow you to understand if the development should be continued at all.
  • Should it be done further? Validation will help you understand how far you have come in product design stages, whether it is worth developing the idea in the future.
  • Is it real to do this? There are often situations when, at a certain point, development simply comes to a standstill. That is why validation is a great opportunity to check if it is real to implement this or that product.
  • How to develop the product further? You will be able to better understand possible directions, rules and peculiarities. Based on this, it will not be difficult to propose solutions, if they are generally possible.

steps of product design

Validation will allow you to understand whether the idea as a whole is feasible. Moreover, at this product design process steps it will be possible to evaluate it both from a technical point of view and business potential. Based on the information obtained, you can better understand how the finished “product” will meet the requirements of the market. This will allow you to make a decision concerning its further use and development.

There is no universal way to test the idea. Each time you will have to come up with something unique. However, there are several popular techniques that will allow a better understanding of how logos, slogans and other components work. Based on this, the designing products can also be changed.

Many people have a question – why do we need a validation procedure at all? The most important reason is the possibility to check your ideas in practice, their real implementation. Such a check is usually carried out at an early stage. It will allow you to understand in general how successful the development will be. Validation is an opportunity to test your product and, if it turns out to be inappropriate, to refuse from its further development. That’s why you must carry it out at the initial stage. Otherwise, it will be difficult to return to the product design process steps and make various corrections. All this must be taken into account, and you can create a development that will be popular.

Sketching

At the initial stage, you need to create a sketch of the product. Any project will benefit from this. Moreover, it is important to keep in mind that before you start product design steps, you should coordinate all actions with the customers. This will allow you to move further in the direction of development.

Sketch is a rough outline of what the final product will look like. It is important because it allows you to somewhat narrow down the direction that will eventually come in handy for the main idea. And only after that the work will take place with:

  • layouts;
  • compositions;
  • edits.

Thanks to the sketch it is possible to clarify the idea in general. So, you should at least create it beforehand in the product design process steps. In the future, it will allow you to determine the order of action and achieve the goal.

Prototyping

product design steps

Prototyping is another important process that should never be forgotten. At the same time, the product design process implies maximum responsibility, understanding how the final development will look in the end. However, prototyping allows you to get not the final, but rather a preliminary view. At this stage, developers will get a “skeleton” of the future product. However, it is very important for the result and to understand the strengths of the project.

Among product design steps, this one is important because it allows you to:

  • See the functionality of the finished product. This will help to compare it with the most popular similar developments. Based on this, it will be much easier to highlight the main advantages.
  • Find out the basic appearance of the designing products. You will be able to understand how they will look, and what you should pay attention to. Visualization is an important aspect in achieving any result. In this case, there will be a clear understanding of where you need to go in order to develop the project. Having an exterior design is important for any development.
  • Determine the characteristics of the consumer’s interaction with the final product. For example, to understand how easy it will be to use. The demand for the development directly depends on this. For the product design process to be successful, it is necessary to understand how user-friendly it will be.

Prototype development and implementation are very important. They will allow you to avoid many common mistakes. On the basis of the experience gained, the digital product design will be done better. As a result, there will be no mistakes in the future. Prototyping saves time and money. And it is not only the customers who benefit from this, but also the designers themselves.

Sample testing

At these product design steps it will be possible to identify potential shortcomings, disadvantages of the project. You can also understand how the development meets the requirements that were originally put forward for it. Testing takes place before the implementation procedure begins. This is important because the full release usually turns out to be expensive. And at the testing stage it is possible to better understand what you should pay attention to, what aspects of the work should be improved.

An important advantage is the fact that the digital product design process involves the ability to conduct testing an unlimited number of times. It is important to do this in order to achieve the desired result and positive feedback from potential customers. Therefore, at this stage you will be able to eliminate all the shortcomings and make the final version of the product. At the same time, you will not have to risk your assets too much.

You should definitely consider such an aspect, and digital product design will be effective and will earn positive feedback. That is why it is important to conduct testing in order to understand the mood of the audience. Nowadays, there is nothing complicated about such a procedure.

Design documentation

how to design a product

An important stage, which should also not be forgotten, is the preparation of all the necessary documents. Without this, it is impossible to imagine the product design process. Such papers usually contain information about the development and a number of its characteristics. For example:

  • Details of the user interface. This is information about the colors used, styles, symbols and other distinctive external parameters. Such data allows you to evaluate all the features of the future development. They should be clearly recorded, which helps to understand how this or that development is structured.
  • Information about the product. For example, about all the operations, as well as the general functionality of the development. This takes a crucial place in the stages in product design process.
  • Other data. For example, information about various characteristics. They must be clearly recorded. Moreover, if adjustments have been made, this must also be specified.

The official information is important for any developer. On the basis of the received document, he launches the product design process. In particular, this concerns the final production, the creation of the “product”, as well as bringing it in line with the specifications and wishes of the designer. All of this will make it possible to create not just a stylish, but also a functional development.

Writing out all the details clearly is very important. You need to specify everything, down to the size of the font and its style. Every detail will be important for the overall perception. In the digital product design process, a layout is supposed to be created initially. Only then the practical development takes place. In order to be able to implement it properly, the details must be correctly spelled out. Therefore, the correct indication of the data is important for both the designer and the developer.

It is very important to specify all the information, because this is the only way many specialists understand how exactly to start doing their work. In general, the correct indication of the information is the key to the product design stages to be successful and efficient. Consistency of all actions is the guarantee of a quality result.
Hire product designers in our company. Experienced specialists who are ready to solve the most serious tasks are present here. Their experience, personal approach and ability to immediately get involved in the work help to get the product that the audience needs. Specialists are focused on achieving results. Each of them knows his role clearly, which allows all procedures to be carried out quickly and consistently. Appealing to professionals in time will help to have no problems in the future, to focus on the implementation of the development and obtain a positive result.

Design handoff

Well-coordinated interaction between different team members is the key to the fact that all the operations will be carried out consistently, and the digital product design will not ultimately disappoint the client. That is why all the procedures must be fine-tuned. So, during the transfer of information the designer must clearly and distinctly tell the developer how each element is arranged, what it is, how it functions, how it feels. This is formalized in the form of design specifications, which makes the process of creating the final product more quickly and accurately.

Design specification in Adobe allows you to easily send the developer a link to the automatic design specifications. Among the stages in the product design process, this one is not the last. You can determine height, width, alignment, typography, colors, spacing, and other important parameters. Based on the data obtained, it will not be difficult to conduct all operations in the future.
Initially, the designer only needs to click the “Share” function in Adobe XD. Then you must select “Publish Design Specifications. This will make the link available to the public. As a result, it will not be difficult to share with developers.

Fast and smooth communication is the key to ensuring that the product design process won’t raise serious questions. Everyone will be able to progressively complete his tasks. Based on this, it will be much easier to achieve a result that will not disappoint anyone.

A/B testing

So, one way to do something is A-B testing. To explain in simple terms, this method allows you to compare which version of development will be more qualitative, functional, practical. This way of testing is important if the digital product design process is to be successful. It is assumed that users will be randomly shown different versions. Later, based on their feedback, a statistical table will be compiled. According to the data provided, you can easily understand which version is more popular. Use it to increase your conversion rate.
A-B testing is a classic method, which has not lost its relevance even now. It will allow you to understand which of the variants of development turned out to be more successful. This will help to make the final choice in its favor, or, if necessary, to carry out additional modifications.

In general, it is important to understand that not every development will be popular or successful. Thanks to such testing, it is possible to choose a more successful version. This will allow you to have a high probability of achieving a positive result.

Based on the data of the test, it will be possible to decide how the product design process will develop further. You and your team will understand how to proceed. You will have a clear argument as to whether the project should be developed further. Be sure to use the information to your advantage.

It is important to conduct this format of testing at different stages. Experience shows that any little detail from general functionality to the color of buttons can be important for the end users. The most important thing is that the results of the test allow you to get quite specific answers. You’ll see what users like best, what they pay attention to. You should not make too many adjustments based on the data obtained. Otherwise, users will get a completely different application next time.

process of product design

Feedback stage

One of the final steps in the product design process is to obtain feedback from the direct users of the development process. This is a very important aspect which allows you to make adjustments in the future, if necessary. So, users often point out those defects and problems which were not detected at the preliminary stages.
For example, they may be related to:

  • functional limitations;
  • difficulties at startup;
  • other technical problems.

Ordinary users are always honest about what they like and what they don’t like. Sometimes programs even create special forms for users so that they can provide comments and suggestions. Among the product design stages, this one plays a significant role.
You should definitely listen to the opinions and suggestions of users. Based on this, it will not be difficult to make adjustments that will increase the functionality of the program, and make the work even easier and more convenient. Forms of communication can be different. For example, some leave contacts for direct communication right away.

It is especially important to pay attention to those shortcomings that several users express at once. If there are any of them, it is bad enough, because the problem is obvious to many people. However, if it is quickly solved, it will not negatively affect the popularity of the development. That is why you should always watch the feedback of users. They will help you to understand what exactly should be improved. Do not ignore the wishes and suggestions. It is the key to the fact that the development will enjoy well-deserved popularity.
design process steps

Metrics analytics

Obviously, we should not forget the statistical data. They are often a good reflection of what the audience liked and what it did not enjoy. After all, not every customer will want to express an opinion. However, statistics will take into account everything.

Heat maps, program usage rates will tell you how digital product design works. In general, the results should be used in a summarized form. They will help to reflect all the strengths of the development, as well as aspects that need to be worked on in the future. For the digital product design process to bring a visible result, it is necessary to take into account all the relevant information. It can be dynamically changing, so speed of response is not the last factor either.

Your team should include a specialist who understands diagrams, heat maps, and is able to analyze other criteria that reflect the specifics of the product. This approach is a guarantee that the operations will be quick and convenient. The most important thing is that even the existing defects can be corrected quickly.

Written by
Dariia Khomych
Chief Design Officer at Limeup

Dariia is the Chief Design Officer at Limeup, where she oversees all design and innovation aspects of our client's products and services. She has a proven track record of providing a creative vision for the design team, delivering effective user experience solutions, and crafting eye-catching visual designs.

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