Starting a project can be a daunting feat for even the most skilled designer, it’s a time consuming and often difficult task. Having had the ‘light bulb’ moment but knowing what to do with it can be tricky.
While creating products is a continuous process, the design process can help you test and validate the effectiveness of an initial idea. It also enables you to work collaboratively and involve cross functional teams, customers and bring lots of voices into design.
Define your customer problem
The main starting point for your design process should always be to define the problem that you are trying to solve, but also understand the problem from the perspective of your customer. There are often many different perspectives you’ll have to take into account dependant on how large your customer audience is.
To ensure that you’re approaching your design process with the very best understanding of what the problem is and why you are trying to solve it, it’s important in these early stages to complete as much customer research as possible. This could involve customer surveys, interviewing prospects and completing market research of competitors/companies that solves a similar problem you’ve identified.
The more data you have at the beginning, the more you define the specifics of the problem you’re solving and you begin to understand what the opportunities are in the market, where a competitor falls short or if the challenge is already solved somewhere else.
Validate your hypotheses
Once you’ve defined the details of the problem you’re trying to solve, next comes one of many moments of validation. This is the time to talk with potential customers to receive feedback and validate that your ideas solve the problems that you’ve defined. There are multiple ways that you could conduct this customer feedback:
- Face to face interviews
- Remote interviews using tools like Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, Webex etc
- Surveys from TypeForm, Google Forms and SurveyMonkey etc
- Social polls on popular forums such as Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
Once you’ve completed the validation with your potential customers, it’s a great opportunity to create some Customer Personas. Personas help you to identify your different types of users. They create a representation of that customer group and support your future decisions being based on a persona instead of an individual user.
Who are the people you should be targeting? How are they different, how differently would they use a product?
Prototyping your ideas
Prototyping will enable you to demostrate the possibilites of your design through mock ups that you share and adjust with users.
Start with a User-Flow - Draw out a birds eye view of how your users might interact with your product, how will they achieve specific goals and what paths will they need to take to achieve these? This will help you plan out the designs you'll need. You can shape the journeys by following the typical shapes you’d find in flow charts:
- Rectangles: represent different screens
- Diamonds: represent decisions the user will make
- Arrows: display the connections between the screens and the decisions
Creating Wireframes - Wireframes are a non negotiable step in your journey to creating your prototype, they will give you an idea of what your users journey is going to look and feel like. You can design directly in the Marvel Design Tool or, get the pen and paper out with a Marvel Sketch Pad to draw your designs and upload to Marvel by taking pictures through the Marvel App.
Bringing your Wireframes to life - Once you’ve got your wireframes created you can move into the Prototyping Editor in Marvel and start to link the designs together using Hotspots, Transitions and Actions to make your prototype feel & look more realistic.
Not all of your ideas have to end up becoming high fidelity prototypes, you could keep the design paper based and be content with low fidelity for some parts of the solution you’re trying to create. Whatever you decide, prototyping your ideas will give you the opportunity to try out lots of iterations, without the need to invest in developer resource, keeping costs down.
Validate your prototype by sharing with others for feedback. Use the public share URL from a Marvel prototype or use Marvel's User Testing to gain user feedback and improvements.
Developing your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
An MVP is a product in smallest and least feature rich version of an idea, it’s purely a version of a solution that you’ve created to demonstrate the product you’ve created. It’s part of the process of building a new product to test and validate how a target customer base would utilise it. Having this smaller feature set allows quicker iteration to happen with feedback from people early on. Once this is complete the fuller product with a wider range of features can be built.
Once you're happy with your prototype, a MVP willl able to launch as quickly on a small budget and continue the iterative process of building, testing and launching new features.
Design Thinking Workshops
We built Marvel to allow everyone to opportunity to sit at the designers table, why not start getting to grips with the design process by running your workshop using our free Design Thinking Workshop Kit. This Workshop Kit will give you and your team a simple, inclusive and reusable approach for running sessions using the basic principles of Design Thinking. Learn how to identify, prototype and test any problem, in an interactive and fun session.