Digital product design has evolved from simply drawing attractive images to a complex process that involves extensive research. This helps to result in a product that is not just looking good, but solves problems of users and customers problems.
A full cycle design process helps to create a properly positioned, competitive and useful product. Our design process consists of 4 main stages: Research, UX Design, Prototyping & Testing and UI Design.
Business, technology, and user research is conducted at the beginning of the design process. The objectives of the research are to find out the actual goals of the business, the potential limitations of the technology, and the needs of the users. Based on the research, ideas and hypotheses are generated that define the product objectives and help solve them.
This stage of research helps to understand the specifics of the product and its business model. The outcome is a detailed structure of business processes and how the product is supposed to bring benefits. Additionally, not only the customer's business is studied, but also the solutions of direct and indirect competitors.
Technology research will help understand the limitations of product development. It explores what third-party solutions may be required, on what devices will the product be used, what technical specifications will the product have, and what are the limitations of the platforms.
If necessary, experts in this area are consulted.
At this stage, research is conducted to help establish which target audience might be interested in the product. Personas are created - potential product users with detailed characteristics, such as job titles, income, age, gender, professional and leisure interests.
Initial research results are made with assumptions regarding the purpose of the product, the portrait of the typical user and product usage scenarios.
With User Research, we can confirm or refute assumptions about personas, their goals, and their needs. If needed, hypotheses and ideas are corrected.
There are two main types of user research - quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research usually includes surveys, statistics. Qualitative ones are user interviews, focus groups and user observation.
At this stage we usually use the following research method - interviews with users similar to our target personas.
Quantitative research methods
Qualitative research methods
After the interview phase, hypotheses are confirmed or refuted. We formalize the idea of how and why users make decisions about the product.
Based on the research, we can develop User Stories - scenarios of user interaction with the product.
We prioritize user stories, selecting them by criteria:
Useful to users
Have a real business value
After that, we make a complete Information Architecture of the product.
Based on the prepared User Stories and Information Architecture, we develop detailed prototypes of the main scenarios.
The complete prototypes are tested on real users. If there are any problem areas, we identify and correct them.
Before starting the UI design, mind maps and references suitable for the product are collected, and the expectations of the customer are taken into account.
Then a design concept is created. After itвЂ™s approved by the customer, we move on to the drawing of all main product screens and adaptive screens for the required screen resolutions.
In parallel with the drawing, we create a Style Guide with all the design elements, which in the future will help develop the product in a consistent style, as well as facilitate its handover to the development.
The design stages can vary depending on the type of product, what has already been done before, and the customer's request.
For example, a customer may already have a style guide that needs to be used to create some new pages, then we immediately go to stage 4 UI Design and slightly cover stage 1 Research to familiarise ourselves with the product.
In the case of designing a simple landing, the stages of research, prototyping & testing and creating user stories and information architecture may be also waived, because the majority of the effort will be in stage 4 UI Design.
In case of complex multiple page services or mobile applications development or cross-platform products, we recommend going through a full cycle design process. By this you will ensure that the product will benefit both you and your users.