The 6-Step Product Design Process: How to Create a Successful Product
Every product has a story – from concept development to launch. What is the process that designers go through to bring a product to life?
In this article, you will learn about the six steps in the product design process – from problem definition and solution exploration to prototyping and testing.
Let’s create the product of your customers’ dreams.
Making viable products people love is the essence of good product design. It’s about understanding what people need and want and then designing a product that meets those needs.
Of course, that’s easier said than done.
Creating a great product requires a deep understanding of both users and technology. Additionally, product designers must be able to think outside the box and possess a strong sense of aesthetics.
The best product managers are able to see the world through the eyes of their users, and they’re always striving for ways to make their products the best for them.
Good product design in 2022 is:
- Intuitive – meaning that it’s easy to use and understand
- Reliable – assuring that it will perform as intended
- Scalable – so that it can be adapted to different needs
- Desirable – as it encourages customers to move from thinking “I need this product” to “I want this product”
- Pleasurable – so that it should evoke positive feelings
- Sustainable (for a physical product) – in that it can be produced without harming the environment (according to Siemens report, 66% of customers believe companies should improve social and environmental outcomes).
The product design process is a journey that starts with an idea. From there, it’s a matter of figuring out how to turn that idea into a reality.
The key is identifying the market opportunity, defining the problem, and developing a solution that will solve it.
Truth be told – the creative process can be demanding, long and complex, and it does not end with launching. Then comes testing and improving. But it’s important to get it right as the efforts pay off. After all, a new product is only successful if it meets the needs of its future users.
Before you step into the product designing process, you need to have a clear vision of why you and your team are developing the product. You’ll use it as a compass for the project, pointing you toward the real purpose whenever you need it.
Here is a quick view of six distinct product design process steps that every product designing team follows. There are no shortcuts – each step is crucial to building a successful product.
It all begins with an idea. Even the simplest one can be a gold mine.
While some products are born out of a desire to solve your own problem, others are preceded by an in-depth market research process. In any case – there is already some product concept in your head that needs to be developed.
You need to approach this vision strategically. Design thinking cycle clarifies the end result and what success will look like so that every stakeholder knows what to expect. Communicate your vision clearly and precisely.
In what way should idea generation be done?
1) Look for patterns and trends
You can look for patterns in customer behavior or in data sets. Also, keep an eye on the market and industry trends. By identifying patterns and trends, you may be able to identify opportunities you might not have seen otherwise.
2) Use creativity techniques
Generating creative ideas should also be enhanced by using a variety of creative techniques. Among these are brainstorming and mind mapping.
3) Talk to target customers and get user feedback
During generating design ideas, feedback from users can also play a huge role. For example, you can talk to customers to get user feedback on your current products or services. You can also ask them about their needs and wants and find the gap for the new ground-breaking solutions.
As a product vision is in place, it’s time to check its potential. This is where companies go to find out whether people would actually buy the product and what they would be willing to pay for it.
The goal of product research is to find out how the product will fit the market and generate insights that can help guide the whole further product development process.
The following methods are usually used in product research:
- User interviews – give the most complete insights into people’s needs, motivations, and concerns.
- Focus groups – provide a more in-depth look at how people react to the future product idea and help identify potential flaws.
- Surveys – are used to gather quantitative and qualitative data about key users opinions on the product, e.g. its user experience.
- Market analysis – it helps understand the size of the potential market, the direct competitors, and what trends are shaping it.
It’s worth noting that product research should be an ongoing process, starting from the early stages of product development and continuing throughout the whole product life cycle.
In this stage, product development team needs to put all ideas and insights together and create a sketch of the product. By putting it into such a frame, collaboration can be more effective, as all the stakeholders (including non-designers) are able to define the project scope of the design project and what steps need to be taken next.
This is the stage full of ups and downs – many rejections and endless improvements. But, it’s the product development process. This isn’t a linear process – don’t lose hope even if you must take some steps backward.
Before prototyping, to achieve the desired results, designers must have a solid understanding of all requirements. By creating a prototype, developers can get feedback from stakeholders, who can see and interact with the product for the first time.
This part and all its issues involved are inevitable to help designers explore ideas, iterate on designs, and find potential solutions that will meet customers’ expectations.
The whole stage will give your team a lot of satisfaction. After all, it’s now that you’ll see the ideas slowly begin to take clear shape.
The product enters the testing phase. It goes through a series of tests to make sure that it meets all the requirements for product design and solves the problem it was meant to.
The first time the product will be in direct contact with your potential users. Even though it might stress you out, it’s a great source of information for improving and tweaking the product to bring better results.
Usability testing is one of those tests. Testing involves putting the product in front of users and observing how they interact with it. Session recordings are also a data-driven method that can uncover user issues.
💡LiveSession is a great solution if you want to test your ideas remotely and watch results anytime you want.
Other product design testing methods include:
- Functionality testing to make sure the product actually works
- Security testing to ensure that the product is safe to use
- Performance testing to see how the product performs under different conditions
- Compatibility testing to ensure that the product works with other products or software
After countless hours spent on testing, armed with the right data, your design team should now be prepared to launch the final version of your product.
But, the process goes far beyond simply launching your finished product. The actual release must be preceded by an in-depth plan.
It is a large-scale project involving people from multiple departments and teams to collaborate together. The product design team needs to work closely with others – for example, marketers who are going to make a buzz around the product launch before and after.
Let’s imagine – in many cases, launch product strategy are formed while the product is still being developed. Consequently, some of the features your marketing team intends to include in your messaging may change significantly or disappear altogether. Therefore, constant information exchange is necessary for a successful launch.
Avoid hesitating too long. Your product should be released as soon as its core features have been thoroughly tested. Thanks to that, your product will have a better chance of success, and you’ll avoid potential issues that could jeopardize its launch.
In fact, the post-launch phase is not the last one – it’s the one when the real work begins. At this point, you will start measuring metrics and collecting real user insights.
Developers will start to make any necessary changes. For example, they might add new features, redesign the interface, or make the product more user-friendly. Marketers will begin to promote the product to the target users and implement marketing campaigns.
Also, the product management team comes into play as an essential part of the post-launch phase. The product owner will be responsible for making sure that the product roadmap is being followed and that the product is meeting customer needs.
If you want to find out more about product management, check out this article >> (link)
The goal in post-launch activities is to continuously improve the product so that it meets the needs of users. by making small changes on a regular basis, designers can keep the product up-to-date and remain competitive in the target market.
The product design process is a complicated and time-consuming task. The whole product design phases can take even years, and it requires a lot of money and resources.
Of course, every team and every product is different, so there’s always room for variation in how you approach each step. Most of the time, however, this is a general framework to follow.
And that’s how the product design process works. Hopefully, this gave you a little insight into the whole process and how it all comes together.