6 reasons why your next business project needs product design workshops
Designing digital products is a complicated process which needs product design workshops. The process can get even more challenging if the client doesn’t provide a detailed product specification. When the product idea lacks refinement, you’re running the risk of launching a project where the scope is unknown or where the designer’s product vision clashes with the client’. And again, that’s where a product design workshop can help.
Product design workshops ensure that the product realizes key business goals and delivers a great experience to users. That’s why product design is a process that needs to happen before development teams get to work and start coding.
Read this article to find out what product design is all about, why it’s worth your time, and how it works.
What are product design workshops and why do I need them?
A product design workshop is a meeting or a series of meetings that have two primary goals:
- Establishing the product’s target audience – by developing user personas and discussing their needs, preferences, and pain points.
- Defining the core product features – connecting user personas to specific feature choices, getting diverse stakeholders to agree on the core features, and then prioritizing their importance.
Product design workshops help teams to understand product assumptions, users, and business needs. As a result, they allow designing and building products on solid foundations.
A detailed design analysis before development helps to avoid unexpected issues or additional costs that may crop up during the development phase.
Benefits of product design workshops
Why are product design workshops such a popular solution today? Here are a few good reasons:
1. Helping designers and developers understand the product and its context
Clients are often experts in their fields and know the context of their product so well that they might fail to include the information they consider obvious in the brief. Designers and developers may be dipping their toes in an entirely new environment, but they have the knowledge required to build digital products. Domain knowledge and technical expertise need to meet at some point – and that’s the opportunity product design workshops offer to teams and their clients.
2. Putting project assumptions into question
Teams usually receive a brief, list of functionalities, and sometimes product documentation. The design workshop is where they get to verify the current project assumptions to check if they correspond to the defined user needs. This is also where they can suggest some new solutions to problems defined by the client.
3. Brainstorming new ideas
Design teams use many creative techniques to come up with new ideas. They brainstorm together and then choose the best solutions for the product at hand. It’s essential to create an atmosphere that inspires everyone to share their ideas freely and offer honest feedback. Design workshops that deliver results are managed in a way to make everyone feel comfortable about expressing their opinions.
4. Discovery of the project’s risks and weak points
Design workshops reveal the project’s uncertainties, missing functionalities, potential difficulties with implementation, and risks. Knowing all that helps the team to prepare for the issues that might arise during the development phase to minimize their impact on the final result.
5. Better estimations
Product design workshops also provide teams with a reliable foundation for scoping and costs estimation. Analyzing the project piece by piece with developers and discussing potential solutions with the client is a sure-fire way to an understanding of the scope of work and its complexity better.
6. Getting to know the team
Design workshops also offer an opportunity for clients to get to know the team responsible for the design and development of the product. Clients usually spend that time discussing the ins and outs of their products with project managers, UX designers, as well as frontend and backend developers. It’s the best time to see how the team works, what their attitude to the project is, and ask some extra questions. Product design workshops help to manage client expectations about the cooperation as well.
Product design workshops – here’s how they work
A typical product design workshop will cover the following steps:
Phase 1: Product discovery
A successful product solves a specific problem for a particular target audience in the best possible way. That’s why the first step in product design is product discovery focused on getting to know the target audience. Teams do that by carrying out interviews, doing online research, getting feedback from potential user groups via surveys, or even engaging in fieldwork.
This stage helps to validate assumptions about product ideas, learn more about critical competitors, and identify new business opportunities (for example, new product features required by target users).
Phase 2: Sharing your findings
Once the product discovery phase is over, the team has a lot of insights on their hands. It’s time to sum up these findings and present them to get stakeholder buy-in and make sure that everyone working on the product is on the same page.
Design workshops are the best place to share research results with all participants, allowing them to come up with their own conclusions. To accomplish that, teams use tools such as personas, customer journeys, and product strategy.
Phase 3: Brainstorm on solutions
A critical step during the product design workshop is the brainstorming session where the team tries to figure out what the product will be, which features it will contain, and what kind of experience it will deliver to users.
Once the team agrees on a set of features, workshop participants also need to come up with a method of how they will bring them to the market – that’s the foundation of the product strategy. The feature list is necessary for the design phase to begin.
Phase 4: Prototyping
In this step, the team comes up with possible design ideas for each feature. At first, they can rely on hand-drawn paper sketches that will serve as a point of reference in building wireframes and clickable prototypes of the product.
The idea behind prototyping is to create something quickly and test it with real users from the target group. That opens the door to iterating on the prototype and making sure that the product is understandable to everyone.
Product design is a never-ending process. Experienced teams are always involved in researching the target audience, discovering customer pain points, and testing new prototypes that solve them.
To create products that offer attractive solutions to problems, designers and developers organize product design workshops that help to accomplish that goal in the most efficient and rewarding way.
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