DESIGN

The fundamentals of building digital products.

Jonny Kelly

AUTHOR

Jonny Kelly

Creative Director
Strategy, Creative and Curious

This is a short introduction and won’t answer everything, but it includes some key tips to improve your chances of building a successful digital product and avoid some common pitfalls.

What is a digital product? OK, we could get into a confusing explanation from the get go, but lets not. For the purposes of this article a digital product is a service, process or content delivered via a web and/or mobile experience. Basically websites and apps. Employing a digital product in your business can provide opportunities for scale, reach, efficiency, intelligence and speed that are limited in the real world. Digital products are key to improving customer and employee experience and if they don’t feature heavily in your business plan, you are likely to be going backwards whilst your competition progresses.

Where do you begin? (With the end in mind.)

Centre your thinking around the customer segment you are targeting. Think from the outside in.

“Making products for your customers is far more efficient than finding customers for your products” — Seth Godin

Ask the important commercial questions…
What problem are we trying to solve or opportunity are we trying to seize?
Do enough people value this problem to make a viable business?

With your idea validated and market identified and quantified how do you Improve your chances of building a successful digital product?

In our experience you do it by taking the right steps…

Stage 1: Discovery & Definition

Does your proposed solution fit the problem you identified?

Speak to your customer/user – what are their issues and wishes
Do your homework on the market – benchmarking, competitor analysis, trends etc
Challenge your ideas and preconceptions
Focus in on the features and identify what you need to include in your first release to make it viable and valuable (Minimum Viable Product)

Step 2: Prototyping & Testing

How do you make sure what you are building fits the needs and expectations of your market?

You must iterate, test then ’rinse and repeat’ – build your product in meaningful bite-sized chunks so that testing and feedback can be gathered and actioned on a ongoing basis during the build.

Be ‘open and agile’ to change and don’t be afraid to pivot. Some of the best ideas come at the intersection of two mediocre ideas. There are a lot of stubborn product owners who have cost themselves lots of time and money due to inflexibility.

Smart Prioritisation – balance the customer/business benefit of features to be included within the budget and time parameters you are working within. Learn to differentiate ‘need to haves’ from ‘nice to haves’ and ‘quick wins’ from ‘long term-gains’.


Stage 3: Execution & Growth

Building a great product is only half the battle. Finding your audience, converting them and continuously improving your key numbers are what separates the contenders from the winners.

Find & Engage Your Audience – Be realistic on what you are trying to achieve within your budget realities.

Measure the Numbers that Matter – Focus on a manageable number of key metrics which indicate the value your product is delivering for the business and it’s users.

Use it or Lose it – Be ruthless with features and content. If its not working, change it or get rid of it. Headspace and real estate is valuable and you don’t want to clog it up with fluff.

Making products for your customers is far more efficient than finding customers for your products  — Seth Godin

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this has provided some food for thought and ultimately helps you along the way to employing digital to grow and improve your business.

You or someone in your team needs to be continually considering how digital products and communications could improve how you work or your customer’s experience of working with you.

We work with a diverse client base on digital product strategy and development.
If you would like our help…get in touch –

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