Product Design in IT – What You Need to Know!
Product design in IT is a holistic view of developed dedicated software. We are not limited only to the system’s appearance and its visual layer. The basis for all actions taken is, however, a strong analysis of the needs, business goals and the industry itself. The more comprehensive the approach, the greater the chances of creating software that will actually work in practice. The multidisciplinary context of the entire product design process goes much deeper than it might seem at first glance. Identifying the real problems of the brand and users and designing solutions to these problems is possible only after thorough verification of the specifics of the entire market. The possibilities and expectations of the brand itself should also be taken into account.
Do you want to make a perfect product in terms of function and form?
If you think about dedicated software, these are probably your expectations.
Steve Jobs used to say: „Design is not just what it looks like, design is how it works”. Therefore, product design does not pay the most attention to what a given system looks like. The key essence of this process is its functionality and the way it works. Users very often do not think about how a system was designed. That is, until it ceases to fulfil its tasks. If everything is in order, no one notices it. When things go wrong, everyone in the company hears all about it. Thanks to its comprehensive approach, product design allows predicting the key problems of users and possible threats that may occur in the future from the very beginning. All because the basis for creating project assumptions is understanding the client’s industry.
Refined dedicated software is based on strong analytical data. This is mainly about:
- comprehensive definition of needs
- outlining the current and potential problems of a system’s users
- identifying a market opportunity and actual demand
- developing optimal paths to solve the problems of the brand and the system’s users
- validating the solution with real users
In the case of designing digital products (software or dedicated applications), the created system must be treated as a single, comprehensive product from the very beginning. One cannot rely solely on the visual part of the project. This is what you should keep in mind when talking to your software development team.
Product design: 5 basic elements necessary to create a good IT system
Once you manage to determine what problems the created project should solve, it is worth considering what else you expect from it. Basic features, architecture of the entire system and added value, i.e. all the elements that may bring additional benefits to users – this is worth focusing on! We all know how important time is in today’s world. Processes that can be automated using well-thought-out dedicated software mean tangible savings for your company. So we are talking about improving the circulation of documents, creating reports, controlling inventory levels or the service life of machine parts and devices operating in your production, etc. There are many examples. There is one goal: save employees’ time. What to do to be able to achieve this?
1. Product design and analytics
Collect data from currently operating systems. Check what problems employees are currently reporting. Track reports to see which activities are taking the most time for your employees. You do not have access to such data at the moment? Ask, check, watch. Good knowledge of your company’s internal processes is the basis for success on the market. If we add analytical data on competition and good practices used in the industry, we can gain a large dose of substantive knowledge. Let’s not forget about the SWOT analysis. Great systems can be built on this basis!
2. Time to define needs
Creating a point of view based on the needs and perceptions of users is a good start for your design activities. The more needs we notice at the very beginning, the more possibilities to solve them can be foreseen in the next stages. A good system shouldn’t be complicated. Very often, seemingly advanced features can be achieved in a simple way. The more knowledge can be gathered at the initial stage of design activities, the easier it is to create a refined architecture of a system, a mobile app. Focus on user segmentation and their needs. Include the values that are most important for them. Think about what resources are key for you and let yourself discover the effective paths to using them.
An extremely important element of the project team’s activities. Product design creates a space for a comprehensive look at the entire system. There is nothing better than a moderated discussion of the various paths to resolve observed issues. Potential concepts generated in brainstorming very often translate into an increase in the effectiveness of the designed solutions. At this stage, an outline of the target system is created, which combines all the existing arrangements into one efficient whole.
4. System prototype
Yes, definitely creating a test version of the system and presenting individual features in an agile manner (agile methodology) is perfect for IT. This makes it very easy to see and eliminate any inconvenience. Additionally, as an investor, you will know at what stage of development your system is at the moment.
A well-designed system focuses on activities and their results. Each element must be connected to another. Every one should carry a specific value. Action = reaction. These scenarios must be carefully planned. In dedicated software, everything serves a purpose. There is no room for unnecessary information or ill-considered steps. This stage is preceded by a preliminary visual and functional design of the whole, which, following discussion and approval, goes to implementation as a test version. The so-called “Minimum product version” – that is, one that can be implemented for testing by users, as it contains the necessary scope of functionality of the target project.
5. User tests
There is no better way to verify the operation of a system than to make it available to selected users. In this way, both the project team and you will be sure that the created tool actually meets its goals.
The essence of product design in IT
Have you ever wondered what exactly is it about creating even the most complex IT systems? Many focus on technology. But in fact, technology isn’t the most important thing at all. Everything is based on the ability to ask questions and get specific, comprehensive answers. You need to know:
- the needs of the industry and the users
- what the expectations and possibilities of a given company are
- understand how all internal systems work.
It is only based on this that a system is designed that will be able to combine many features into one whole. Not only that: this software is designed to provide answers to customers’ questions every day. This reliability is the most important thing! However, to be able to build it, it is necessary to focus on product design. Only such a holistic view allows creating solutions that translate into real profits.
Product design – is it worth it?
Speaking of profits, one cannot forget about several key benefits that come with product design. What benefits are we talking about?
- ROI – a well-thought-out system structure preceded by a thorough analytics is a software that will pay off faster than the costs of expanding ready-made systems. Especially since they operate within the standard framework. The problems of large enterprises usually relate to the need to combine data from many already operating systems into one, which will facilitate resource management. This is where dedicated software becomes a necessity.
How do these costs spread over time? We present the answer in graphic form:
- possibility of system expansion – the more dedicated software is adjusted to individual needs and business environment, the easier it is to predict possible course of its expansion.
- broad perspective – for the project team. The more data programmers receive, the better the end result of their work will be. Product design provides just such information, which makes it possible to work focused on achieving business goals in the shortest possible time.
- effective control – visible both at the system planning stage and after implementation. The investor can maintain a great deal of control over the processed data and the roles of users. Dedicated software based on strong analytical data allows refining the methods of presenting information in the company in this respect. Knowing what values the competition finds crucial, you can automate the generation of similar reports on the current state of your business. It is a strong support for high-level managerial staff and the entire management board.
At a time when technological progress is possible on an unprecedented scale, well-developed dedicated software becomes an indispensable necessity. Especially for large companies that want to stay ahead of their competition. Ergonomics, aesthetics, functionality – these are the basic elements of a good system. With product design, the phrases mentioned take on real meaning. And that’s exactly what creating personalised systems is all about!