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Understanding Successful Design Processes

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It’s no secret that design is one of the most important features of a digital product, be it an app or a website. Design is what helps a product stand out and gives it a competitive edge.

You’ve probably interacted with a digital product that was so easy to use that you wondered how the design came to be. The answer is simple: design processes.

This article will show you the 7 steps that lead to successful designs that delight your users and make you money.

What are design processes?

These are the steps that designers, developers, and project managers follow to create design products. It is how they move from an idea to a product that solves a specific user problem and meets business goals. Here are the steps that you can take when defining your design process.

Step 1: Define the product

The best way to start a design project is by ensuring that all the stakeholders are working towards a common goal. Here is what your design team should agree on:

  • What the product is and its purpose
  • The problem that it solves
  • The unique value proposition
  • Who the target market is
  • Who the project stakeholders are
  • How these stakeholders will collaborate and communicate
  • The timeline of the project
  • The budget of the project
  • How the success of the project will be measured (KPIs, number of sales, etc)

Step 2: Research the product

Research is what sets up your design product for market domination. It helps the design team get a deep understanding of the market and the intended users. This helps them create a product that anticipates and fulfills the needs of the users.

The research phase can be tedious and time-consuming and you might be tempted to skip it. Remember that good research will save you time and money down the road. During the research phase, it’s important to gather the following data:

Competitor research:

This is an analysis of all your direct and indirect competitors so that you can find the gaps in their product or where their products can be improved.

Market segments:

Group potential users by their demographic characteristics (age, gender), geographic location, psychological profiles, and behavior.

User surveys:

Here, you interview/survey potential or current users to find out their problems and to validate ideas.

SWOT analysis:

Analyze the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats of your product to determine where it fits in the market.

Step 3: User analysis

With project and market data in hand, it’s time to analyze it so that the design team can start understanding users. The analysis will help them infer what users want and the scenarios where your product can help them. You can use the following tools to understand your users:

User personas:

This is a profile of your users which outlines their needs and characteristics. Your product will have several users personas that group users according to similarities in their behavior and characteristics. These profiles are created using the data that was gathered in user surveys and market research.

User journey mapping:

This is a visual representation of the steps that users are going to take before your product solves their problem.
Use cases:

These are scenarios where your personas use your app or website in their daily lives. They are mapped out using the data collected in the research phase and brainstorming.

Step 4: Product design

It’s time to start designing your product using the data gathered in the research and analysis phases. First, the design team should outline the Information Architecture (IA) of your product.

IA is how the information on your product is going to be arranged and categorized. Next, the design team creates wireframes of how a page will be structured. They will be the backbone of the project and they can be presented to stakeholders for feedback. Wireframes can either be created digitally or in the form of paper sketches.

Your team creates a prototype of the product which is a model of the completed product. A prototype doesn’t have to represent the whole project, if the core user flows have been designed, then it can be tested by users.

Usability testing is used to gather feedback that is then incorporated into the next version of the prototype.

Step 5: Design implementation

The final version of the prototype is handed off to developers for coding. During the design handoff process, the design team must give a clear explanation of how the design looks and works to the developers, which can be tedious. Design tools such as UXPin make handoffs a breeze.

Step 6: Product launch

After all the hard work, your product is ready for launch. Keep track of customer feedback and support tickets and use them to fix any issues.

Step 7: Measuring and iteration

The design process is neverending, keep measuring how users interact with your product and use that data to continue improving it.

Create a design process for your team

Great designs start with a great design process. UXPin offers an all in one collaboration tool that can be used across all the steps of your design process. It simplifies design handoff and helps your team create interactive prototypes. Sign up for a free trial of UXPin and improve your design process.

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