22 August 2019

Why We’re Excited About Product Design in the Digital Era

It’s fascinating how the onset of the digital age has marked an evolution in language and in the way we think about the world around us.

Consider, for example the fact that a handle once referred to a part of an object that is designed to be operated or held by a hand. Now, it’s a word that refers to your “screen name,” or the name you use on social media.

Here’s another one. When we talk about a “cloud,” we may be referring to the geographical formation. We may also be referring to a part of the internet that is dedicated to the storage of data. The list goes on and on.

Lately we’ve considered what all this means for the evolution of what we do as an agency. Let’s look at the term, “product design”. It’s a term that has been used throughout the centuries to refer to the design and development of physical products like cars, mobile phones and even cheese graters. Slowly but surely, we’re seeing this change.

For the most part, what we once referred to as “product design,” is now referred to as “industrial design”. And what we refer to as “product design,” now refers to the design and development of digital products. Think search engines, apps, PDFs and podcasts. This for us, is where the magic happens.

UX and Product Design

The product designers of the digital age need to have UX superpowers in order to make something remarkable. When we talk about UX (user experience), we’re referring to how users interact and engage with a product.

Think about the UX of a car – the ease with which you open your car, the smoothness with which the seatbelt releases and clips in, the speed at which your boot closes at the click of a button.

Now apply that kind of thinking to the digital world. The UX of a product concerns how easy it is for the user to do what they planned to do when accessing the product, and how simple it is to gain value from that interaction. Think about how many clicks it takes for a user to find what they’re looking for on a website, or how seamlessly an app connects to the user’s social media profile. These make-or-break aspects of how a product functions, are of vital importance.

In product design, UX also overlaps with UI (user interface) design.

UI and Product Design

UI (user interface) design, at its most granular level, concerns how a product looks and how a user experiences that product on a tangible level. User interface designers use tools like Photoshop and Illustrator to bring products to life visually.

Consider the most ubiquitous products in the digital arena – Facebook, Google, Shazam – they all work efficiently and look good. In today’s world where appearance is everything, form and function need to coexist harmoniously.

Product Launching and Marketing

So, you’ve developed a product that works intuitively – one that does what it says it will do and does it better than any other product. Thumbs up. Now what?

If the world doesn’t know why they need your product and if what they see when they look at your product doesn’t make them want it even more, it will remain forever on the digital shelf – and we don’t want that.

That’s where we come in, as specialists in design, branding and marketing. We have years of experience in telling the world why they can’t live without your product.

Branding is the golden thread that runs through the UX and UI of any product. It’s the series of visual cues that ties everything together.

Let’s take a look at Apple. They’ve released some of the most user-friendly, efficient and streamlined products the world has ever seen. But without that trademark apple logo, the uncluttered aesthetic and the colour gradients we’ve come to associate with Apple, we would never see crowds of people falling over each to be the first to own the latest Apple device – right?

And when it comes to marketing a tech product, there are new rules that apply.

We no longer talk “at” people. Instead we talk “with” them.

We no use a “shout-and-hope-for-the-best,” approach to marketing. Instead we target our marketing so we talk to the right people at the right time.

We no longer strive for once-off purchases – we aim to build product communities.

 

At Pure, we specialise in the branding and marketing of new tech products. Need advice on how to tell the world about your tech innovation? Contact us, we know how to do it.

Contact us on accounts@purecreative.co.za or give us a ring on (021) 424 6918.

 

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