November 17, 2022 Read 6 Min

Product Design: 8 Things Every Founder Should Know

The aesthetics of a product lies within its design process, but many founders tend to underestimate the importance of this process. Each unique step carries its weight and here are some important tips that no one should overlook.

Flat style outline vector illustration on the subject of teamwork, brainstorming, finding new solutions. Editable stroke.

There are several design best practices that founders who are launching new products must be aware of because they are crucial to creating a long-lasting successful product.

It is never as easy as it seems to design a product, let alone creating one. On this account, product design is a step that must be taken in the process in order to alleviate the pain points of your customers. 

A well-known fact states that firms with co-founders in the design field have higher success rates. Apple is the most typical example. Apple branding is evidence that design-centric thinking can succeed. Every company founder should learn from the way Apple build their web and product design

The big question is, what’s the recipe for design success? Let’s dive in.

Product Design: A Beginner’s Guide

Before we get into the nitty gritty, let’s understand what product design actually means. Traditionally, product meant tangible objects or materials that can be found in retail stores. Today, the term ‘product’ can also refer to digital products like apps and websites.

Product design is the process of designing and creating a digital product, which includes conceptualising and developing and idea. This involves identifying the difficulties faced by users and coming up with innovative solutions in order to build an useful product that satisfies the needs of the client.

In the modern process, product managers and designers use design thinking. The term itself refers to a method or framework. This approach focuses on solving problems in a creative way. It is a complex process that involves research, prototyping and testing, and although it is a human-centered approach, it also gives greater thought to the demands of the business and the market environment.

It is best assumed that designer founders are experts in practicing innovative design thinking behaviors — not just pushing pixels. Ultimately, genuine product design will result in products that boast quality, thoughtfulness and ease of use.

8 Product Design Tips for a Successful Startup

  1. Know your target audience 

First rule of thumb – always identify and understand your target audience. I know, it sounds straight out of a textbook doesn’t it? But if you don’t know or understand the needs of your target audience then there is literally no point in designing a product. This step helps you clarify your decision on which products to build and how to go about building them. 

  1. Vision documentation 

Everyone would be excited to jump right into creating a product but it is wise to never neglect a simple step, such as documenting your vision. This is crucial for every business because it enables each team member to be aligned with the aims and purposes of the desired product. The documentation should be clear enough for all stakeholders to grasp, and detailed enough to have all important elements listed inside. 

  1. Define your MVP (minimum viable product)

When faced with this situation, many founders are often uncertain about what features their MVP should include or which features they should prioritize over others as they develop their MVP. Most of the time, as you begin to design, you find that the MVP might go beyond the predetermined parameters, which forces you to plan for new chances that are outside the parameters of what you have previously budgeted for. To help direct the design and development process, it is better if you have a product road map. so that you may choose wisely the features to keep or remove from your MVP. 

  1. Product roadmap 

As mentioned above, a product roadmap helps direct your design and development process. Meaning it can act as a guide for you and your team in developing a product. This is where every founder should have a proper outline of the ins and outs of their implementation of both short-term and long-term goals for the product. A detailed roadmap will also provide you with a clear vision of what needs to be designed and will assist you in planning over a long period of time.

  1. Design Alterations 

When all plans and preparations have been constructed, it may seem as though the product is done, but you subsequently realize that some adjustments to the colors or typefaces are necessary. Your designers may become frustrated as a result of having to set aside time to begin making minor tweaks here and there. However when changes need to be made, it is important to do it early enough for the adjustments to have enough time. Even better, build up a quality assurance system that enables you to regularly review and analyze the design so you can identify mistakes and places that require revisions as soon as possible.

  1. Collaboration with designers

This is a common error among founders as they struggle to work well with their designers. It is never a good idea to construct any product with the attitude that “They should produce my design at the designated due date”, especially for a freshly ideated product. Instead of pushing the blame or adding unnecessary pressure to your staff, you should learn to communicate by sharing your ideas and insights with them and compromise an agreed due term. This will enable your team to truly understand the changes that need to be made and smoothly execute the alterations. 

  1. Stay true to the uniqueness of you product

It’s excellent to draw ideas from similar products and services’ user interfaces and experiences. However, relying too heavily on inspiration won’t produce any worthwhile outcomes. You must decide what distinctive qualities your product must have and be unwavering in sticking with them. Come up with features that will set you apart from all your competitors and stay true to that concept. 

  1. Test and test again with your target audience

This is one area where founders tend to slack off. They have the urge to jump right into development as soon as they decide the design is good enough, but they don’t realize that even just one or two helpful pieces of input during the testing phase might prevent them from creating a product that will ultimately fail on the market. The necessity of testing before starting the development process cannot be overstated.

Specialist vs Generalist

When hiring and building a design team, it is important to first know which set of skills the company needs, and it all boils down to differentiating specialists and generalists. 

If you’re seeking ground-breaking innovation to set you apart from the competition, specialists contribute their in-depth topic understanding, which is highly insightful. Specialists can maintain focus on specific tasks and deliver quality results in a short period of time. However, to boost their efficiency and focus, the practice of multitasking and context-switching will not be exercised in their domain.

Specialists will know more about their area of expertise than the other members on your team, which means they can drive the process. In spite of that, they will probably need assistance setting priorities and handling other dependencies since they lack a more comprehensive understanding of the activity being done concurrently.

On the other hand, generalists are more efficient and adaptable with their assigned tasks, and can seamlessly transition from one stage of the process to the next—and go back and forth to iterate with ease. They can be deployed on whatever design problems you have today and those you don’t know enough about to anticipate.

Additionally, because generalists are well-versed in a variety of design disciplines, they are able to prioritize their work and work independently as they examine a variety of design jobs and grasp the relationship between time and value.

Design Explorer vs Design Maker

In every design team, there is a need to differentiate design explorers and design makers into two groups to carry out a successful design. Crafting a product is a process itself, which means it is to be developed step by step, and by grouping designers into different stages of a design process may help boost the efficiency of the craft.

Design Explorer – The discovery stage

As obvious as it may sound, every design task starts with explorations and discoveries. The “Discovery stage” of the design process begins with this step. It is at this time that teams investigate the market, examine products, and develop their first solid design concept. Team members will have to come together for a brainstorming session and pool the ideas they’ve explored to pick and choose the best concept with care.

Design Maker – Design Asset Creation 

The second part of any design task is design asset creation. This is where design makers, or designers by itself will have to showcase their skills while maintaining a large design system that may consist of dozens of design screens, landing pages, icons and more. After design explorers pass on their ideas to the design makers, the latter will have to prepare documentation of these concepts and start crafting according to those ideas. They will also be responsible for implementing solutions to the concepts given by the explorers. It is important to note that the design asset creation process requires in depth and scalable details about how the design life-cycle will be. 

How we can help

As experts in the UI/UX and product designing field, our team will be able to guide you through the process of designing and filter the best possible solution to your asset. 

The designers at Snappymob are very knowledgeable and always up for a challenge, so don’t be hesitant to get in touch with us right away!