• Tue. Aug 16th, 2022

The way to leverage product analysis at each stage of the design course of

Read Time:14 Minute, 21 Second

  • This text was written by Lorelei Bowman from Maze—the product analysis platform for contemporary groups.

Think about essentially the most helpful and pleasurable merchandise you employ every day. It’s probably all of them have one factor in frequent: they have been designed along with your wants in thoughts. Nice merchandise anticipate your wants—and their nuances—earlier than you even have them. So, how are you going to obtain that when designing merchandise?

The reply is straightforward: with the proper analysis, on the proper time within the design course of.

On this article, we’ll cowl what product analysis is and why it’s pivotal in your product’s success. We’ll undergo every stage of the design course of and delve into how one can use analysis to information and validate your concepts all through.

✏️ Due to our buddies at Maze for sponsoring this weblog submit!

A quick introduction to product analysis

Designing a product is an enormous enterprise, and with that comes a number of threat. Is the consumer expertise intuitive and simple to make use of? Does the product resolve the issues customers want it to?

Whereas we will by no means get rid of all threat when designing and constructing a product, we will mitigate it, with the fitting product analysis on the proper time.

“Analysis depends on a number of storytelling and bringing individuals on board along with your journey.” — Blake Hodgson, Design Supervisor at Maze

Earlier than we get into the depths of why you want product analysis, let’s check out what product analysis actually is.

Once we speak about product analysis at Maze, we’re speaking about analysis as a steady means of discovery, validation, and assortment of consumer insights that helps to gasoline understanding, decision-making, and construct a terrific consumer expertise.

This will likely embody:

  • Studying about your goal customers’ needs, wants, and ache factors
  • Discovering how your customers thinks and understands ideas
  • Working with customers to collect and take a look at concepts
  • Testing designs to validate assumptions and collect perception

Utilizing analysis to make knowledgeable product selections and higher perceive your goal consumer is a vital a part of designing and constructing profitable merchandise. Bringing goal customers into this course of means that you can create an answer that solves actual issues.

Varieties of product analysis

With so many sorts of product analysis, figuring out when to make use of the fitting analysis methodology will be the distinction between gaining beneficial perception and pointless data.

Listed here are simply among the classes product analysis can fall into:

📌 Generative analysis

Generative analysis—often known as exploratory analysis—supplies a deep understanding of goal customers’ motivations, challenges, and behaviors. The purpose is usually to pinpoint an issue and gather sufficient information to maneuver ahead with a key downside assertion.

📈 Evaluative analysis

Evaluative analysis—often known as analysis analysis—focuses on evaluating a product or idea and accumulating information in regards to the efficiency of your resolution. That is usually undertaken early on and utilized in a steady, iterative approach throughout and after the design course of.

🗂️ Quantative analysis

Quantitative analysis is used to gather and analyze numerical information, determine patterns, make predictions and generalize findings about an viewers or matter. Strategies embody quantitative usability testing, A/B testing, and card sorting.

🧠 Qualitative analysis

Qualitative analysis is about uncovering the ‘why’ behind your consumer’s actions. Qualitative information provides an understanding of motivations, ideas, and attitudes. Strategies embody surveys, consumer interviews, moderated usability testing, or subject research, the place you may instantly observe and examine contributors.

The perfect product analysis is steady and iterative—a mixture of strategies, carried out often all through the design and growth course of. This allows you to present a well-rounded understanding of the issue area and your customers.

Illustration by Maze

Why do you want product analysis?

When carried out early and sometimes, product analysis can information you in the fitting path for designing a helpful, intuitive, and accessible product that customers need to and can use.

Listening to instantly out of your audience removes the guesswork and supplies goal suggestions, permitting you to empathize along with your consumer and create a product that places the consumer on the heart of their expertise. Analysis additionally helps you:

✔️ Perceive your consumer’s needs and desires

By working with actual customers, you may design primarily based on information and suggestions, moderately than assumptions. Analysis eliminates the guesswork, enabling you to make data-informed selections and align merchandise with the core wants of customers. Acquire perception into actual customers’ challenges, ache factors, and wishes—then construct on that basis.

✔️ Reveal how nicely customers perceive your product

Analysis allows you to perceive how an actual consumer would method your product and navigate it to attain their targets. In the end, simply since you or group members perceive one thing, doesn’t assure the common consumer will. Analysis can reveal whether or not a consumer understands your product—by means of idea, design and prototype. Take a look at the whole lot from navigation to performance and language, and collect not solely proof of idea, however proof of widespread usability.

✔️ Preempt errors and save sources

It’s all too simple to get near launching a product—and even post-launch—solely to find a hidden error. Conducting analysis early on within the design course of allows you to determine points early and iterate typically, due to this fact minimizing errors and saving the sources in any other case wanted to repair the problem and redeploy last-minute updates.

✔️ Assist create accessible merchandise

Product analysis additionally permits individuals of all skills, backgrounds, and accessibility must overview your product from extra views. Whereas suggestions from friends is invaluable, analysis supplies unbiased suggestions from numerous teams, with no preconceptions of the product, its aim, or skills.

Why do you have to analysis?

Our analysis at Maze exhibits that design groups often perform analysis simply a couple of times, usually in the direction of the top of the design course of. Whereas it’s extremely essential to carry out late-stage usability testing, it’s additionally essential to conduct analysis early within the design course of. For those who don’t, you’re largely designing in the dead of night—basing selections on assumptions, moderately than suggestions and information.

Conducting product analysis early and sometimes allows you to perceive your customers and be taught extra about their wants and preferences.

Conducting product analysis early and sometimes allows you to perceive your customers and be taught extra about their wants and preferences, to allow them to be constructed into the product in a considerate approach. However it may be exhausting to know the most effective form of analysis and testing to conduct at every stage of the design course of—that’s why we’ve mapped out the high-level phases of the design course of and the fitting sorts of analysis to make use of under.

Let’s get began.

product research illustration
Illustration by Maze

Stage 1: Analysis & Discovery

Earlier than you even begin designing, it’s time to analysis and uncover what your downside is—what are you making an attempt to unravel? On the analysis stage, it’s not about narrowing down your product thought or defining a aim, it’s merely about gathering as a lot data as doable and studying the whole lot you may about your matter.

A typical false impression is that product discovery is a single stage within the design course of. Actually, analysis and discovery ought to proceed all through your complete design and growth, so hold your eyes and thoughts open.

“The extra time you spend understanding an issue, the much less time you’ll need to spend exploring a very broad number of options.” — Helen Tsvirinkal, Product Designer at Shopify

🔍 What sort of analysis do you have to do?

This stage is in regards to the breadth of knowledge, from reviewing options at the moment available on the market, to studying who your viewers is. Concentrate on accumulating directional insights with a generative sort of analysis, gathering giant quantities of perception to empathize along with your customers and perceive the issue at hand.

This usually entails conducting consumer interviews to raised perceive your viewers, and analyzing present information you’ve on the subject. For those who’re designing a brand new product from the bottom up, you may conduct usability checks with competitor merchandise or merchandise you assume are reaching your aim. Observe how customers really feel about these instruments, perceive their psychological fashions, and use the info as a benchmark.

Statge 2: Synthesis & definition

Whether or not you’re redesigning an internet site’s data structure or constructing a brand-new piece of software program, analysis is paramount to figuring out essentially the most beneficial resolution to your customers’ downside, and defining a downside assertion.

Analysis at this stage is much less about particular points of the design, and extra about testing concepts.

“At this stage, we all know the overall pains or wants from the product discovery course of, and this step is absolutely about utilizing these as stimulus to determine which concepts are value pursuing.” — Blake Hodgson, Design Supervisor at Maze

Analysis at this stage is much less about particular points of the design, and extra about testing concepts. Think about whether or not this appears to be like like one thing the consumer would discover useful, is the aim in thoughts beneficial to the consumer, is there one other concern which is extra urgent? Suggestions gathered right here doesn’t essentially outline the path of your product, however will assist prioritize the options value specializing in, and guiding your growth roadmap.


🔍 What sort of analysis do you have to do?

Now’s the time to outline your downside and slim down your targets—and the way you’ll obtain them—you need to begin with all of your choices, and use analysis to filter all the way down to those you need to pursue. Concentrate on generative and formative analysis. Look to collect qualitative information out of your goal consumer on what their challenges are and the way they’d like them to be solved.

High strategies for doing this embody operating surveys to raised perceive consumer wants and ache factors and idea validation like a choice take a look at to find out how customers really feel about potential options. Moderated checks the place you may hear contributors’ thought processes and ask follow-up questions are particularly beneficial.

Guarantee questions are clear and unbiased—much less is extra. Keep away from main questions or comparability questions. Some instance questions are:

  • What was your first impression of every idea?
  • What are your favourite points of every idea?
  • What are your least favourite points of every idea?
  • How typically would you employ every idea?

You may additionally need to start analyzing buyer suggestions, both in your present product or rivals; have a look at what present customers are discovering difficult or having fun with. Think about how might you additional enhance their expertise, primarily based on their direct commentary—how does this align with the outcomes of your idea validation?

Stage 3: Ideation & testing

The ideation and testing section is all about producing options and designs, so that you’re in search of evaluative insights on how the answer/design performs with customers—this usually takes the type of a prototype usability take a look at carried out a number of instances at completely different phases:

  • Low-fidelity prototype testing: Map out the varied options of your product, and think about how every one matches into the broader consumer expertise. Specializing in the practical points of your product (headlines, buttons, wireframes) will assist hold you targeted on usability.
  • Mid-fidelity prototype testing: That is the place you’ll actually be placing the usability of your designs to the take a look at. Whereas a mid-fidelity prototype gained’t be fully-formed, it ought to resemble the top design, so take a look at outcomes right here can strongly affect the ultimate feel and look of your product.
  • Excessive-fidelity prototype testing: Together with your designs nearly full, now’s the time to test your present iteration towards earlier or present designs and rivals. You need to validate the ultimate design and uncover any hidden usability points, so this stage is about exhausting and quick information assortment.

🔍 What sort of analysis do you have to do?

When you’ve landed on a design (or a number of), you’ll need to put it by means of a number of rounds of testing, from fundamental wireframe testing to low, mid, and high-fidelity prototype testing. It’s essential to notice that this stage is extremely iterative, and for the most effective consequence, you’ll circle by means of the phases a number of instances.

“I attempt to take a look at at an early idea section when I’ve a low-fidelity wireframe to get some early enter from actual customers. As soon as we get the primary outcomes, it’s essential to make use of these outcomes all through different design phases and re-test with customers.” —Vaida Pakulyte, UX researcher and Designer at Electrolux

Early formative checks with a low-fidelity prototype or paper mock-up are important in guaranteeing your product is intuitive and meets customers’ wants, and will be the make-or-break level of an idea. Keep away from getting caught on particular design parts, and as a substitute deal with testing concepts, hierarchy of knowledge structure, and fundamental interactions.

Analysis right here ought to present a mixture of qualitative and quantitative information, with a deal with evaluative analysis. Utilizing a number of rounds of tree testing and card sorting is right. Tree testing will provide quantitative information within the type of time-taken, success, and misclick charges, that can assist you perceive how efficient and usable your product is. In the meantime, card sorting supplies clear perception on the most effective methods to construction content material and data structure, and find out how individuals perceive completely different concepts.

When you’ve carried out your last prototyping checks, use the outcomes to tell the subsequent design iteration. Loop again spherical, synthesize the discoveries of this stage’s analysis, and repeat.


Maze’s product design course of

Stage 4: Growth & supply

Now you’ve a design you’re assured in, it’s time to wrap up with last testing. That is the stage to check the whole lot: from copy and terminology, to colours, photographs, navigational parts, and UX flows. When you can come again from this stage, it’s greatest to be as thorough as doable and mitigate any future redos.

🔍 What sort of analysis do you have to do?

That is the place summative testing is available in. Take into consideration this analysis as evaluative and preventative. Use summative testing to preempt and stop any main points which might in any other case crop up after launch.

When operating summative testing, it’s greatest to purpose for a big pattern dimension to realize important outcomes from a big take a look at pool. You must also benchmark the outcomes towards any earlier information collected to see the distinction from idea, to low-fidelity, to now.

Conduct usability checks to collect quantitative information, together with metrics like what number of duties somebody accomplished, how lengthy it took, what number of clicks, and so on. For this stage, we extremely advocate utilizing an on-line analysis and testing instrument, to attenuate the handbook labor and evaluation wanted.

Trying forward: The analysis doesn’t finish right here

Constructing merchandise isn’t actually performed. Even after you full the phases above, analysis ought to proceed, and your product ought to hold creating as much as and after launch.

It’s essential to maintain testing and researching. Iterate variations of the launched product, consider its efficiency, bugs, and consumer suggestions, so you may proceed to implement modifications all through the product lifecycle and design merchandise which resolve issues and delight customers.

For those who fall into the lure of considering simply because the product is on the market, the analysis is over, your product will shortly develop into outdated and fall behind—your consumer base and their wants aren’t static, so your product shouldn’t be both.
It doesn’t matter whether or not they’re huge or small designs, new options, or redesigns of outdated ones. There’s nothing extra beneficial than well-timed, considerate analysis to maintain a product user-centered at every stage of design.

Maze About Maze: Maze empowers product groups to supply and scale invaluable product insights throughout the group—placing information within the arms of the various. Run product analysis from wherever and take a look at something from prototypes to repeat and ideas, or spherical up consumer suggestions—multi function place. Works with: Figma, Adobe XD, InVision, Marvel & Sketch.

For extra details about Maze, go to www.maze.co and comply with @mazedesignhq.

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