It is one thing to see what others say, and another to practice it yourself.
Since December last year, the company has started the research and development of new products, and it has been half a year since today, and the products have also successfully obtained project incubation funds. From 0 to 1 to make products, I have come all the way to summarize some of the pits I have walked through and share with you.
The company I work for is a design consulting company, and I have been in charge of providing experience design for enterprises. I have served China Life, Ping An Bank, China Merchants Bank, Bosera Fund, and other enterprises. Good at helping companies provide experience design solutions, but less experience in making products from scratch.
The R&D company of this new product asked me to be responsible for the design of the entire product, including the sorting of requirements, analysis of competing products, and product design.
I have gained a lot in this process, and it is quite different from the previous experience design ideas.
The biggest difference is the trade-off between product requirements and user experience: when making a product from scratch, is product experience important? How much product experience needs to be achieved, is it to pursue the ultimate experience from the beginning or to give priority to product demand?
In the beginning, after the team completed the conceptual design and verified the feasibility, it directly entered the development stage. At this time, the design and development were parallel, the agile development process included agile research, and the pace of product development was very fast. In the fast-paced process, the team can still complete detailed product design, and at the same time achieve the ultimate in product details and experience.
However, I did not expect the development progress to be delayed, and the demand and design reduction degree was low. Later, it was found that in the process of designing, just like the experience design for third-party mature products in the past, the pursuit of experience details and the design process did not take into account the time cost of development.
The blind pursuit of experience details will eventually lead to product delays and product demand cannot be restored. Too much emphasis on experience design, a lot of development time wasted on implementation details, but the overall functional requirements have not been improved.
Define different design strategies at different stages of the product
Experience designers often make such mistakes when making products. In order to prove their design value, they always focus on the product experience and improve every product detail, but ignore the current goal of the product.
It does not mean that experience design is not important or that experience design is not necessary for the initial stage of the product, but we should customize different design strategies at different stages of the product. The product is divided into three stages: “initial stage”, “middle stage” and “mature stage”. At the same time, the product design strategy is divided into: usable, easy to use, love to use, and brand.
The strategy of the initial experience design of the product should focus more on usability; in the mid-term of the product, it is easy to use; in the mature stage of the product, it is an improvement of the brand that loves to use. Instead of building a brand in one go, product experience design also pays attention to an iteration.
Just like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory, the most basic physiological needs are met first, followed by safety needs, social needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs.
The initial business-oriented goal of the product is to quickly verify whether the product and its solution can be accepted by the market and users and whether it can really solve the problem. Therefore, product requirements should be quickly realized, and the requirements should be restored first and put on the market to verify the core highlights and product solutions of the product.
Note here: Not all requirements need to be perfected. You should focus on the core requirements of the product and the key process of the product solution so that you can launch and verify the feasibility of the product at the fastest speed, and then iterate in small steps.
Just like WeChat, there was only a chat function at the beginning, and some other functions were gradually expanded later. Experience design should also be valued at this stage, rather than discarded entirely. We want to ensure the ease of use and subsequent expansion of the product. The following will describe how to complete the experience design in the initial stage of the product.
Early-stage of product – design strategy
The initial experience design of the product should focus on the usability of the product, at least to ensure that there is no problem with the usability of the product, and then optimize it in the future to make it easier to use, love to use, and improve the brand.
On the flip side of usability, we can refer to Nielsen’s ten principles of usability:
- Principle 1, Visibility of system status
- Principle 2, Match between system and the real world (environmentally appropriate)
- Principle 3, User control and freedom
- Principle 4. Consistency and standards
- Principle 5. Error prevention
- Principle 6. Recognition rather than recall
- Principle 7. Flexibility and efficiency of use
- Principle 8. Aesthetic and minimalist design
- Principle 9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
- Principle 10. Help and documentation (humanized help)
Although it is a simple ten usability principles, very few can actually be done well. This requires us to have a deep understanding of the ten principles of usability and keep clear thinking in the design process.
In the current market, it is good that mature products can achieve consistency – the most basic usability has not been solved, so let’s talk about emotional design.
In the early stage of the product, we need to ensure the usability of the product, and then follow-up design iterations: find problems, define problems, and design solutions.
In the process of producing design plans, we need to have component thinking. Different requirements should be realized by using unified components as much as possible. Componentization is conducive to product interaction and visual consistency, and it is also convenient for multi-person collaboration.
This requires designers to have a thorough understanding of the nature of the requirements: when we receive a new requirement, we should think about the nature of the requirement and what kind of problem to solve; whether it can be implemented using existing components, and if not, it needs to be customized When developing a component, consider whether the component can be compatible with subsequent requirements and improve and optimize the existing design; if it cannot be compatible with subsequent requirements expansion, only to solve a current requirement, then other alternative components should be considered for implementation. Avoid developing a new component.
For componentized thinking, we must first understand:
- Understand what the development language used by the students is thoroughly developed;
- What the basic underlying architecture looks like;
- Are there any third-party open source components used, and which components are used;
- The characteristics, usage specifications, etc. of these components.
Just like a chef, what kind of dish does a feast.
If you do not use open source components but develop your own, it is also recommended not to use too complicated components. The basic commonly used components can solve 90% of our product problems. Try not to conceive a component yourself. If you encounter complex requirements, you must customize the development component. You must discuss with the development and product managers, and discuss your requirements clearly. See if it can be solved with some other solutions. As long as a large number of custom development components are involved, the development cycle will be elongated and conflict with the current product goals.
(About what is componentized thinking, you can go to the Internet to check, there are a lot of relevant information now.)
This article only writes some experiences about the experience design in the early stage of the product. The same is true in the mid-term and mature stages. Before designing, you must pay attention to the product goals in the early stage and formulate corresponding design strategies.
According to the elements of user experience, when we are doing design, we first pay attention to the strategic layer and scope layer and then decide what our structural layer and presentation layer look like.