As your business dives into digital product innovation, a key part of that process is digital product design. After setting your business goals, doing research on your competitors, industry, and customers, and creating your strategy and budget, it’s time to actually design the product.
Digital product design is important because it builds a bridge between your digital strategy and your product launch. To be successful, a digital product has to benefit your customers and your business — and the product’s design can make or break that success.
Let’s take a closer look at what digital product design is and the steps involved in designing a great digital product.
Why should I create a digital product?
Creating a digital product is a key way to expand your digital capabilities and carry out your digital transformation. A digital product helps solve business problems and improve the customer experience.
For customers, digital products offer an opportunity to engage with a brand and help them easily find what they need. Digital products can also provide a more personalized experience and a seamless purchase process. When your digital product delivers value — by solving your customers’ pain points and meeting their needs and expectations — they’ll trust your brand and keep coming back.
Digital product innovation also benefits your business. Digital products can provide a competitive advantage and position your company as a leader in your industry. They help you gain new customer insights, build loyalty, generate repeat purchases, and increase revenue, driving business growth as you continually evolve and improve the user experience.
What is digital product design?
A digital product uses technology to offer an interactive experience, deliver value to its user, and potentially generate revenue for its creator. It is different from a physical product or a digital good (like music, video content, or an ebook).
Digital product design refers to the process of creating a digital tool. Design involves ideation, building and launching a prototype, evaluating whether it helps achieve business goals, and making adjustments that improve the customer experience and drive revenue.
How do I develop a great digital product?
As many as 49% of companies don’t follow a consistent product management process. It’s no wonder that 21% of them fail to create products that meet customer needs.
A great digital product is rooted in strategy and keeps the customer at the center. That means, in order to design a successful product, you have to complete the important initial steps of setting your business goals, doing research, and creating your strategy and budget. Strategic, data-driven decisions should drive the process — from ideation to launch to marketing and beyond.
The digital design process begins and ends with your customer, taking into account their needs and their feedback every step of the way. A customer-centric approach ensures that you’re creating a product that provides value. It also involves a commitment to continual evolution, as you analyze customer data and feedback to further optimize your digital product.
Companies who offer customer-centric digital products will ultimately see the value as they deepen customer relationships and grow revenue.
Key steps to designing a digital product
The key steps in digital product design cover the development process from idea to launch.
With your customer insights and strategy in mind, digital product design starts with ideation. Only 10% of ideas become successful digital products, so putting the time into this phase can help improve feasibility and avoid pitfalls.
Encourage innovation and collaboration by creating alignment between different teams in the organization. This upfront alignment will help produce fresh, feasible ideas that truly provide value.
In this stage, you’ll answer important questions: What are the key requirements and features of your digital product, and how will customers use them? What value do those features provide your customers and your business? What technology is needed to build a prototype?
Consider how you can maximize your current business assets and map out where you may need to update or integrate your people, processes, and technology.
At this point, you may also want to do some research to screen your idea. This can involve surveys, paid search campaigns, or a landing page to gauge customer demand and interest.
Proof of concept
Once you have created a strategy and evaluated your resources, start with a process of discovery – a minimum viable product (MVP) that still contains differentiating factors. Your MVP is part of the process known as “proof of concept.”
This digital product will be a quick-to-market version that has enough features to show customers its value and help validate whether it makes sense for your business. It’s all about agile development.
Use your digital product design to create a prototype for testing. Tap into the resources you have — your people, processes, and technology — to quickly build this 1.0 version. It doesn’t have to have all the bells and whistles, but it does need to work well enough to provide a realistic outcome.
In this stage, you may choose to conduct some pilot testing for usability before the design is more fully developed and launched. It’s important that your product is easy to use and navigate.
Launch and Test
Bringing your design to life is a big accomplishment, but it’s really only the beginning. Digital product design is a cycle. During the process of digital product development, you have the opportunity to incorporate learnings back into the product to optimize it.
As you launch and test your MVP, think about what comes next. Your MVP gives customers an opportunity to provide feedback and allows your team to work out any kinks.
Using initial customer feedback and user experiences as a guide, adjust your MVP as needed to create and launch a more mature digital product. Making data-driven decisions will ensure that you’re evolving and scaling your digital product in the most impactful way.
Digital product design is an important part of digital product innovation. Committing time, resources, and thoughtful collaboration to these steps will help produce a digital product that benefits your customers and your business.
Contact a digital transformation team member, or download our “B2B Guide to Digital Product Development” white paper.