Deciphering The Needs Of Users And Businesses: A Strategic Approach

July 18, 2023
Photo by Faizur Rehman on Unsplash

A seasoned designer, serving as a vital part of your digital product strategy team, will aid in formulating and overseeing the overarching plan for your digital product. At Elsewhen, a digital product consultancy, they function as creative thinkers, problem-solvers, and advocates for the user or customer’s needs. In this strategic capacity, our designers assist in crafting the roadmap to ensure the product delivers genuine value to users and aligns well with the market or business needs.

The Foundation: Product Vision

Your strategy’s cornerstone must be the product vision. For instance, Airbnb’s product vision could be articulated as: “Facilitating global connections between accommodation hosts and paying guests.” It’s important to note that the product vision should outline the destination—but not the precise path to achieving it or how the product will function.

Discovery Phase: Understanding User Needs

Based on this vision, the product designer will embark on a discovery phase to research and comprehend the actual needs of users or customers. This might involve interviewing users, stakeholders, and customers, as well as conducting desk research on the market landscape. Acquiring this understanding is crucial, as the most frequent cause of product failure is creating something users do not want or need.

User Personas: Painting a Clear Picture

With a genuine understanding of the target users, the product designer can create user personas. These are succinct and shareable documents that depict a clear image of a hypothetical typical user—in terms of their needs, pain points, behaviours, mindset, and other qualities.

Competitive Landscape: Identifying Your Position

The product designer can also investigate the competitive landscape for your product. Are there well-established competitors or innovative disruptors already in the field? How can you differentiate your product from these? If the product idea is intended to serve an organisation’s employees, are there existing off-the-shelf solutions for this?

Defining the Product Strategy

Armed with all these insights, the product designer can assist you in defining the product strategy. In addition to being documented in depth, the strategy should be robust enough to be expressed in a concise and compelling “elevator pitch”. For instance, Airbnb’s elevator pitch might be: “Our digital platform connects travellers with locals, allowing them to rent rooms or entire properties. Guests save money, and hosts monetise their empty rooms—we just take a 10% commission.”

The overall strategy can be refined and improved on a continuous basis, as the designer proceeds with the development and user testing of the product design.

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