APR 29, 2020

What factors make a great product design

With a blank artboard, there is no secret sauce to creating great products. A lot of hard work, time and effort are required to make sure your product has the best chance at being a success and hit the many metrics a product can be judged.

A good product plan in simple list format flows like so:

  • Strategy
  • Research
  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Prototype
  • Launch
Artwork by Dmitry Gordienko

Artwork by Dmitry Gordienko

Many activities need to be performed to cover the six points raised above. We’re going to walk you through some bite-size chunks that come after the idea and eureka moment. Using this methodology, you can be sure to be making the correct initial decisions. And then go again. You’ll rarely produce a perfect product the first time.

#1 Product Discovery

Finding the correct solution to the right problem will give your product the best chance of success. You must first understand the friction or pain your target users face.

“Recognising the need is the primary condition for design” - Charles Eames.

There are many ways to perform research, too many to list here completely but more than anything, you must learn from your target audience. You can have empathy, but nothing will replace talking to your intended audience. You can use your experience but never wholly rely on what “you want” or what “you need”.

When you have your interviewees, avoid asking leading questions. You want to answer open-ended questions so the interviewee can take it wherever they like. You’ll often discover additional paths to investigate that you hadn’t considered.

Make sure to be inclusive and record all forms of reply. You want to cover what your interviewees say, think, do and feel. The feel part is becoming more and more critical in a crowded environment. Emotions and how people feel when using your product is a crucial indicator of how well your product will do over time.

Warren Challenger

#2 Ideating Solutions or Hypotheses

After speaking with your target audience, you will have a list of pain points. Now it’s time to get the right people in a room and ideating together — including personnel from the client.

No idea is a silly idea, make sure to cast your idea and solution net as wide as possible. List out ideas, content or features that could be implemented to help solve the problems. With some validation tests following your brainstorm, you can start to layout a basic product strategy and roadmap.

Artwork by Christine Soules

Artwork by Christine Soules

#3 Prototypes and Iteration

When creating and iterating, I always try to think in users flows and not screens; this often helps with creating a more enjoyable experience.

With problems and possible solutions in hand, it’s now time to start creating prototypes.

Prototypes can be on paper, a design tool or coded up. The medium you choose needs to be driven by your solution and a format which your stakeholders and test subjects can use. It also comes down to the time you have available to produce your prototypes.

I have found that simple drawings on a digital whiteboard with a shared call can often yield great feedback with very little effort. If it’s not possible for you to direct users through your prototype, a more hi-fidelity approach may be required.

Watch closely as your users struggle or glide through your prototype. Ask your test participants to speak out loud what they’re thinking. Asking yourself questions like “can I make this product easier somehow.” or “would some additional friction help a scenario”. Friction is not always a bad thing.

Artwork by Natalia Lebedeva

Artwork by Natalia Lebedeva

#4 Emotions

Once you start the prototype and design stages, I feel it’s vital to consider emotions. With a new app or brand, a positive experience will help drive repeat engagement.

I cannot overemphasise that making your product enjoyable will make it stand out from the crowd. From concentrating on the user flow, rather than just the information architecture. To designing micro-interactions on something as simple as a toggle rather than only standard UI. Consider the feelings or emotions your giving the user will play a part in making your product stand out from the crowd.

Artwork by Alver Hothasi

Artwork by Alver Hothasi

This story was originally published on Dribbble

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