A digital product design is a process of designing and refining the look, feel, and function of a service or digital product to meet the needs of its users. Designers must consider how their work will be used by people with different backgrounds and technical skill sets in order to create an intuitive experience that is both functional and visually appealing.
Designers can use wireframes or sketches to plan out an interface before moving on to finalise visual elements like colour palettes or typography. Designing for interfaces requires designers to think creatively about how people interact with products – what they need from them, what they want from them, and how best they can get it without sacrificing usability.
When thinking about digital product design, here’s 9 tips that will help you design products people will fall in love with.
Data, Design, Develop, Deploy Model
The Data, Design, Develop, Deploy model is a digital product management framework that allows us to iteratively build digital products with a pre-built feedback loop. In this model, designers work closely with stakeholders to understand what they need from their digital products or services through design research methods like user observation and interviews.
The Design phase of this process includes creating wireframes that illustrate key functions within the product, and creating prototypes that allow stakeholders to try out the design themselves for feedback. Designers use wireframes or low-fidelity prototypes during this phase because they are quicker and cheaper to produce than high-fidelity versions which include more visual representations of products like user interface (UI) mockups.
Designers present their work in person through Digital Product Design Reviews and Briefings, as well as through written documentation like user stories and design specifications. Designers can use Design artifacts such as wireframes and prototypes to build consensus among stakeholders about the product requirements before moving onto development or implementation phase of the project management life cycle (PMLC).
Digital Product Design Psychology
Design psychology is used to understand how people interact with products and is critical in this era of digital product design. Design psychology uses the knowledge of cognitive and social sciences, which has been summarised in Design Principles like Fitts’ Law (people require less time to click on larger buttons) or Hick’s Law (the amount of time it takes for a person to make a decision increases as more options are presented).
Designers also need to know more about Design Principles like The Zeigarnik Effect (unfinished tasks continue to be mentally represented and therefore occupy a person’s attention) or Mental Models (the way people think and feel about something based on their past experiences with it) in order to create intuitive products that will meet the needs of their users. Designers must be aware of Digital Product Design Principles and Design Psychology because they can inform the design process, user research questions, and product requirements.
Understanding human psychology also goes a long way also. The more you can get inside your user’s head the better your design outcomes will be.
UI vs UX Design
User Interface Design and User Experience Design (UI/UX Design) are two different digital product design specialisations. UI is focused on the visual aspects of a product, while UX Designers consider both aesthetic and functional considerations for their products. A digital product designer can have expertise in either or both disciplines depending on what they need to accomplish with their designs. Designers are often required to have a high-level understanding of both UI Design and UX Design so they can design products that meet requirements for their users.
Designing for interfaces requires designers to think creatively about how people interact with products – what they need from them, what they want from them, and how best they can get it without sacrificing usability.
Building A Design Guide
To design digital products, Designers should create a Design Guide that includes their Design Principles and Design Psychology to use as reference for future designs. A Design Guide also provides designers with an opportunity to revisit past decisions and ensure that similar problems or mistakes aren’t repeated in the future.
Components of a Design Guide
A Design Guide can include components like Design Principles, Design Psychology principles and theories, UI requirements (e.g. colour palette), UX flowcharts for key product functions or processes, Design specifications with user stories to inform development teams about design decisions, etc. A good guide will be comprehensive so that designers have all the information they need to make decisions about their designs. Designers should update the Design Guide with information as they learn more and generate new ideas for future products or features.
Build To Include Feelings and Emotions
Designers should consider how their users feel when using a product, as well as the emotions evoked by engaging with it. Design for emotion to build products that will engage and delight your customers.
Empathy maps are a popular Digital Product Design tool for understanding users’ emotions and feelings. Designers can create empathy maps to show what users feel when using their product, how they feel it affects them emotionally, and the causes of those emotional responses (e.g., frustration or excitement). Empathy maps help designers understand why people use products in certain ways so that they can design better products for them.
Triggers/Habit Loops Design
Designers should use Design Triggers to increase user engagement with their digital products. Design Triggers are techniques that motivate users to engage with a product, and they can be used in digital or physical spaces. Designers can create trigger features or functions (Habit formation is governed by the Habit Loops Model) so they can Design effective triggers to create positive habits. Nir Eyal’s book Hooked – How to build habit forming products goes into detail about it:
Designers should design Customer Journeys to understand their users’ experiences when using a product. Designers can map out all the steps in how people interact with their products, including where they are likely to face problems or obstacles.
Customer journey maps help designers identify opportunities for improvement through user research and testing, as well as inform digital product design requirements.
Designers should design prototypes for their products. Prototyping can help Designers explore different digital product design options, test out product ideas with users (e.g., low-fidelity paper sketches or high-fidelity digital wireframes), and refine designs based on feedback from clients/users to build better solutions.
To Design successful Digital products, Designers should create a Design Guide that includes their Design Principles and Design Psychology theories to use as reference for future designs. A Design Guide also provides designers with an opportunity to revisit past decisions and ensure that similar problems or mistakes aren’t repeated in the future.
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