5 Key Points of Successful Product Design
For ITID Lviv, Qubstudio shares the insights on how to make a design that helps businesses and makes a difference for users.
Qubstudio’s creative journey started more than 10 years ago, when Lyubomyr Koval, software engineer, and Victor Fedyuk, designer — both fans of electronic music — started to organize parties in the late 90s in the city, where just a small community was involved in electronic music movement.
Common interests and passion for design became a nice ground for founding business together. Starting with graphic and web design, over the years company’s expertise evolved, currently focusing on interaction design and product development. For ITID Lviv, Qubstudio shares the insights on how to make a design that helps businesses and makes a difference for users.
1. Start with questions
We always start new projects by doing a discovery phase. During this phase, we have a lot of workshops and try to find answers to key questions – What problem are we facing? Who are our users? How and when will users interact with the product? What’s in it for them? Discovering these things really helps to understand what are the challenges users are facing and their goals. Deep understanding of business, its strategy, roadmap, and business model is also essential for evaluation of design work results. Colors, illustrations, visual style can imply certain subjectivity, but overall result should be specific and measurable.
2. Follow real-life experience
It’s a common case when designers and product managers focus so hard on adding new and new features, making products way too complicated, yet forget to meet some very crucial expectations. For example, recently we have been working on an internal service for a facility management company. While analyzing customer journey map, we understood that field workers have a couple of touchpoints during a day — for example, en route to particular facility, making minor notes while working, at the end of the day to send reports and so on. These facilities sometimes are quite distant and may have poor network connection, so we introduced offline mode and backup system so that all data is stored safely and passed to the central office and direct clients right on time.
3. Discover deep user goals
For UX design it is important to dig very deep to the main goal and reveal users needs. This approach may appear more complicated, but in fact, it’s more efficient: finding the solution to a real problem, instead of convincing people they need something, when in fact they don’t.
A good example here would be event services and websites, like Leopolis Jazz Fest. At first glance, you might think that user’s goal while using those is to buy a ticket, obviously. But as you start digging deeper, you understand that the actual, ultimate goal here got nothing to do with the ticket — it may be to spend some quality time with friends, enjoy sunny weather in a park, listen to a favorite band, and so on. Another example we love is AirBnB case — the real user goal here isn’t to book a place — it’s to experience living abroad like a local. And these finding and insights, translated into design solutions, make all the difference between products people love and don’t give a damn about.
4. UX design neither begins nor ends with visuals
Talking about a difference between great and average products, another piece of the puzzle, which is often overlooked while working on a design, is branding and texts. Of course, designers keep in mind visual things like guidelines, brand colors and so on, but what about how your app communicates with users? Is it conservative and serious, or inspiring and friendly? In fact, it’s not just about the tone of voice — quality microcopy — things like call to action texts, button labels, tooltips, etc. can make your app’s interface not only more human and appealing but also guide users through the app and help achieve their goals.
5. Create design that works
The world changes quickly, and some of the most successful services of even 2000s you can barely remember right now. For us, this means that taking an iterative approach, testing our hypotheses and being data-driven isn’t an option anymore. For each project, we set and track specific metrics, and this allows us not only evaluate and communicate the impact of our work but also cut off all excessive and biased and focus on a real goal — inside the team and together with the client.