Product design process guide
UI/UX Design

Product design process guide

Working in a UX studio is exciting, makes you constantly test your abilities and develop. Not only do we need to become UX experts, but we also need to understand the areas for which we create our products. Product development involves many people, the process forces everyone to work closely with each other, including designers, developers, product owners, strategists, founders, and most importantly, users. Digital Telepathy works with businesses in technology, cloud management, cyber security and communications. Such projects are quite difficult to develop.
 
Our team has developed a process with a methodological toolkit that is applicable to any industry, making work less intimidating, more scientifically based, more collaborative and more fun. Any of the tools can be used at different points in the design process. Think of it as a toolbox to build on; a set of methods that give confidence and the ability to create something amazing. This is a post-list.
 
We will provide a short report on each tool, explain why it is useful, provide examples, links to relevant resources on the topic for more in-depth study.
This is a longread so please be patient! You don”t have to read everything in order, you can safely jump to the necessary sections that are relevant to you at the moment. Here”s a quick summary:
Development of a product concept
Research and validation
Understanding design systems
Fast ideation
Understanding users and relationships
Preparation for design
Design and development
Here we go!
 

Development of a product concept

Future press release

An effective method of understanding the vision of a product is to work “from the opposite”, ie. writing a press release. Imagine the product is ready to go to market and write a press release that introduces the product to the public – why it was created, what problems it solves, and why it makes sense to use it. This can be individual work or team work, together with colleagues and founders. Future press releases are a great opportunity for teamwork and coordination of opinions in a team, forming a basis for working on a product. Check out the studio”s blog for more information on how to write a product vision press release.
 

Manifesto

Another option for forming a concept is a manifesto. For a product that doesn”t exist yet, we start by asking why the founders believe the product should exist. We dig into the benefits offered, what problems the product should solve, its background, and what value it will bring to the user. Encouraging clients to deliberately write all of these points helps us understand their thinking process and expectations from the result of our work.
 

Research and validation

Research plan

Stakeholder input is incredibly valuable. And it is necessary because we would not be working on the product if it was not for them. But information cannot come from this perspective alone. Ultimately, we always create for the users. So developing a meaningful approach to get user input is critical to identifying potential problems and assessing how well the future solution meets user needs. Here you will find detailed instructions on how to write a research plan.
 

Asking the right questions

 
What”s the biggest challenge with ________?
Tell us when was the last time you ________?
How did you try to solve this problem? Tell us more
Describe a typical ________?
You mentioned that ________, please tell us more.
How often you________?
If you had to train someone ________, what would you say?
Has ________ happened to you? What did you do?
 
This is the psychology of asking questions without provocation or bias. An approach like the one in the picture above is a great start to building questions to get valuable and honest feedback from our users.
 

Data synthesis

After interviewing, we synthesize data to define insights in the form of themes, connections, patterns, and opportunities. This topic deserves a separate blog post, we dedicate a whole workshop to this in our studio.
 

User testing

Testing can take place at different points in the design process. If the product already exists, we test to find problems. If the product is still at the ideation stage, then we launch a design sprint to conceptualize and develop a prototype that can be presented to users. If a product is being developed, we constantly test and always find ways to improve it. Personal testing is the most valuable, but we often relied on paid remote testing, which saves time and gives more response. We turn to UserTesting.com for this, but there are a lot of similar tools. So feel free to subscribe to free trial plans, experiment to find the best solution for your goals.
 

Heuristic evaluation

 
Heuristic grading is the key to finding usability problems. It”s important to keep user testing and usability testing separate. In heuristic scoring, experts analyze the product to identify areas of lack of functionality and product usability that could cause problems. The results are rather ambiguous.
 
When conducting user testing, we pay more attention to user behavior patterns. It helps determine their intentions and how they think. The product can comply with all heuristic principles, but at the same time not satisfy the needs of users.
 

Understanding design systems

Platform audit

We don”t always create products from scratch. Sometimes the client comes with a packed and tangled bundle of finished products. In this case, we conduct an audit of each section of the platform to identify functional overlaps.
 

Ecosystem map

 
We also create what we call an ecosystem map to illustrate the connections between users and platforms. Think of this as a quick sketch of a mind map. This technique is most useful when the traditional site diagram is too large, too tactical, and does not solve higher-level problems of connecting the user with the product. The example above was used to collect links between a web portal, a mobile app, and three main user characters.
 

Competitive and Comparative Audits

Competitive audit can be useful in validating ready-made solutions on the market. We use audits to document all of the product”s capabilities, then take screenshots of the features and insert them onto the InVision Board to better visualize the results. It helps a lot at the beginning of practical development. Competitive audits take a certain amount of time, since many competitors do not show full-fledged demos of their products, it is impossible to create accounts on their marketing sites. You will need to collect and develop demos, documents, synthesize the collected data.

Fast ideation

Design Sprints

Whether it”s a new feature for an existing product or a new product from scratch, we run a one-week design sprint to prototype and evaluate if the product we”re going to develop is worth the months of our time. We will test the sprint output to see if the chosen solution solves the user”s problem. If we are looking for a solution that allows a product to match the market, we show the prototype to the intended users for a longer period of time to get a quality response before starting the actual development.
 
Pro Tip: Any design sprint steps can be used in the product design process, including:
 
Customer journey mapping
Stakeholder interviews
Sketching and Crazy Eights
Voting with tags
Storyboards
Prototyping
User testing
 

Understanding users and relationships

Proto-characters

In all fairness, composing characters can be a waste of time. For a situational context, the Job stories method has shown excellent performance (we will look at this in more detail). But when you need to define many types of users who will interact with the same product in different ways, standard proto-characters are very useful. You don”t always need to delve into their shopping habits or come up with functional names for their 2.5 kids, but it”s definitely worth defining their goals and behaviors.
 

Job Stories

Product design. Job Stories
When _______________ (situation), I want ____________ (action / motivation) to __________ (result).
 
Job stories were developed and popularized by the guys at Intercom. A job story is a description of a function from a to-do perspective. This is an effective technique for defining a problem without prescribing a solution. This approach inspires creativity, stimulates team collaboration, and helps to achieve good organization. The job story framework itself is built on the basis of a user story. The user story structure includes:
 
Like ____, I want _____ so I can _______.
 
By replacing “How” with “When I am,” we define the problem from a situational perspective, not from a person’s perspective. Focusing on “what” instead of “who” helps to solve specific problems faced by users by identifying their motivation, actions and results. This is the format:
 
When I am _____, I want _______ so I can _______.
 
For example:
 
When I browse the dashboard, I want to check my account balance to quickly see how much money I have left without having to leave the dashboard.

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