Many people think that the product design process is all about creating something unique and cool. However, that’s not really true as there are many more steps involved in product design. In this article we are going to dive deeper and talk about major phases in product design and development.
Step 1: Generate Ideas
Any new product starts as an idea. You have decided to create something amazing and something that will rock the market. That’s not an easy thing to do - especially today, when competition is extremely tough. The best way to start here would be brainstorming. Ideas are always better when they are generated by several people because having different opinions, knowledge and experience can help you come up with something really amazing. Once you come up with a couple of ideas, think about your target audience and - what is even more important - about what problems your product is aimed to solve. Your product must help customers with their struggles. Along with developing your ideas, you can run a survey or interview your future customers and ask them some basic questions. The answers you get will help you to figure out whether this whole thing will work.
Step 2: Screen Your Ideas
There is a great chance that you will have several ideas on your mind. This is the step where you will need to carefully screen all your ideas to eliminate the ones that don’t have much potential. This is, probably, the most important phase in the product designing process. This is the stage that defines your success. Our suggestions for this phase would be the following:
- • Screen your competitors to see if they already have what you are going to offer. If you are running a startup project, winning over competition can be a hard thing to do.
- • Evaluate all product development, production and promotion costs (make approximate calculations as there is no need to go into details on this stage). Great things are not always expensive, and quite often cool projects do not require much investment.
- • Think a couple of years ahead. It is difficult, but that’s what you will need to do. Make sure you have a clear understanding of how your product will work in at least 2-3 years. Will it still be popular among customers? What will the situation be like with your competition?
Step 3: Product Feasibility Research
The screening you did before is initial research. It only allows you to see what ideas are worth further development. On the third phase of product design you will need to dig much deeper and make several serious researches such as market research, economic, strategic and technical analysis. Also, you need to evaluate all possible risks and decide if you are ready to take them.
You already did light marketing research, you surveyed your target audience and you analyzed your competition. On the stage of product feasibility research you need to get more detailed information and make sure your product is going to be in demand.
If you see that the product is going to be popular, it’s time to proceed with economic analysis. It is aimed to estimate all product development expenses and let you see the potential profit. Also, don’t forget about analyzing all the risks.
The most important thing on this stage is to be realistic. It means that even if your idea looks amazing too you, all the calculations, research and analysis could show the opposite, so use this information wisely. Sure, taking risks sometimes gives birth to successful business stories. You can try that too, however make sure you are ready to bear all possible losses.
Step 4: Initial Design
After all your research is complete, you are ready to start production. Design process is the next step in your scheme. When you approach to this phase, you should already understand what your product will look like. The key processes on this stage include the following:
- • creating a prototype,
- • testing it,
- • changing the design,
- • testing until everything is perfect.
The UX design process is not as easy as it may seem, but you can save time and effort by following one rule - simplicity. The more difficult design pattern you choose, the lower quality of the product you will get. Besides, complicated design is hard to bring to life. It requires more expenses, time and can result in a release delay.
Step 5: Preliminary Testing
The design process can take many stages until everything looks just like you want. However, design is not the only time-consuming process. The next step to complete is running preliminary tests. On this stage you need to run not only product performance testing, but also marketing testing. Thus, you will see if there is still a high demand for your product and whether customers need it. There is a chance you will need to make some changes to the product on this stage to meet your audience’s requirements.
As for the product performance testing, it must be very thorough. Make sure all possible errors (or at least major part of those) are fixed before the product is released.
Step 6: Product Launch
The day has come! You have developed an idea, designed the product, tested it, and now everything is ready for the launch. This is, probably, the most responsible stage of any product development process.
Before the product is released, make sure everything works properly. Sure, there will definitely be some errors that you will see right after release. However, the initial launch should go with minimal bugs.
After the launch, you will need to run additional performance testing and check if anything needs to be fixed. It all depends on the type of your product, however more likely there will always be some errors to fix. The most important thing here is to find and fix them in time.
The product design process is not simple, but it’s very exciting. Following our 6-step design process tips you will definitely succeed.
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