Building a competitive product can be tough. This is why the need for the right product design agency has witnessed tremendous growth.
With thousands of design agencies in the market, it is difficult to identify the right agency for your product design needs. You will have to consider several factors such as their portfolio, client reviews, team strength, design approach etc. before hiring one.
In this article, we are going to explore what exactly a product design agency does, what is their role in the product development process and what things to look for while hiring the right one.
Let’s get started.
What is a Product Design Agency?
A product design agency collaborates with your team throughout the entire product development process. This includes brainstorming, researching, validating, designing, developing and testing your product.
They possess both strategic and creative skillset to create a winning digital product. In a nutshell, they:
- Validate viability and desirability of a new product
- Design products that align with business goals
- Audit existing products to find bottlenecks
- Develop products and advise on pre-launch strategy
- Test products with users and collect feedback
- Help businesses scale quicker than their competition
What does a Product Design Agency offer?
An experienced product design agency can help you launch a successful product with a variety of services. Furthermore, it can provide a dedicated team that works solely on your project and develops a niche-specific strategy.
The following are the major services that a product design agency offers.
Development of a Product Strategy
A product strategy is a plan covering your solution methods, market positioning, target market segments, product attributes, marketing and distribution channels, pricing strategies, and scaling potential.
A product strategy outlines your product’s significant aims and a step-by-step approach for achieving your business objectives.
Deliverables at this stage include:
- Solution and Architecture of the Product
- A map of the value proposition
- Your major product objectives and Business goals
- A marketing and positioning plan for the product
- Initiatives aimed at achieving these objectives
Conducting User Research
User research aims to learn about your customer’s emotions, goals, pains, habits, and motivations.
A product design agency gathers data and conducts customer interviews, surveys, prototype testing, and field research to find these.
User research aids in the development of a user-centred solution that communicates directly to your target audience while also validating the product’s concept.
Expect these from a product design agency:
- Target audience analysis
- Customer needs & wants analysis
- Customer journey map
- User scenarios/stories
Creating Visual Designs
To make your product successful, it should not be just visually appealing but able to meet your users’ needs.
You will find thousands of designers and web design agencies that can create aesthetically pleasing designs but fail to justify users’ needs through designs.
An experienced product design agency ensures that users’ needs are met while keeping the designs attractive. This is achieved through the right set of methodologies based on design thinking and a human-centric approach.
During the design phase, a product design agency will deliver the following outputs:
- Brand identity
- UI/UX design
- Usability testing report
Assist in Development Process
A product design agency does not specialize in development, but they can surely assist you with your product development needs.
A product design agency helps you select a tech stack based on your product’s business goals and technical specs during the development stage.
They can coordinate with your product development team to advise on the following aspects:
- Code implementation (Design artefacts)
- Frameworks to use
- Third-party API integrations
- Support and maintenance
Analytics & optimisation
A digital product design agency tracks the analytics and accumulates all the required metrics to optimise, improve, and scale your business after you’ve launched your product in the market.
Here’s what you’ll get:
- Setting of KPIs
- An examination of your project’s most significant metrics
- Product analytics tracking
- Product optimisation strategy
Why do you need a Product Design Agency?
Your business depends on your product. And if you are a SaaS-based business, then your product is your business. In such a case, simply copying the product concepts from competitors and hiring a web designer to work on the same doesn’t work.
Take Zoho for example. How did Zoho become the leading company in providing SaaS-based ERP solutions? Did it just blindly copy from its competitors like Salesforce or SAP?
No! It made its products extremely simple to use while maintaining a gentle aesthetic appeal. It constantly keeps upgrading its products by actively listening to user feedback and keeping up with market demands. An article by Forbes tracks how Zoho claimed its top position.
Similar is with Uber, Zomato, Airbnb, Amazon and other successful businesses that have invested heavily in product design and offer an exceptional user experience.
When you hire a product design agency, you will reap the following benefits:
1. Establish your unique position in the marketplace
A product design agency can help you differentiate from your competitors by creating an exceptional user experience for your customers. With over tens and hundreds of products solving the same problem, it is the functionality, usability and aesthetics that decide the winner.
2. Validate all product ideas
3. Improve your product’s user experience
If you have an existing product with poor user reviews, chances are that 80% of them would point towards a bad user experience. Here, the agency can conduct a UX audit and user research and work on improving the user experience of your product.
4. Increase in conversions and customer satisfaction
Good user experience translates into good business. The UX of your product, be it a website or an app has a direct impact on its conversion rate. An improved design will solve issues like low conversions, poor activation rate, and so on and so forth.
5. Increase in return on investment
Forester Research shows that, on average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return. That’s an ROI of a whopping 9,900 per cent!! Got any reason not to hire a product design agency?
6. Cost-effectiveness in terms of resources
A product design team comprises experts from several disciplines – business, product management, research, marketing, sales, customer service, design and development. If you are a small business or a startup, you cannot afford to hire people from each of these disciplines. Here, a product design agency can help.
In the next section, we will show you how to identify the right product design agency.
How can you choose the right Product Design Agency?
On Clutch, there are 3797 companies that are listed under product design services and 16,305 listed under UI UX design services. Out of these thousands of companies, how can you identify which one is the right agency for you?
Don’t sweat it yet. Here are some of the most important things to consider when looking for the right product design agency.
Which projects they did and what did their clients say?
Check a product design company’s track record for getting products to market before hiring them. A comprehensive portfolio demonstrating experience in various industries indicates that the organisation is not limited to a single specialisation and can develop solutions for multiple markets.
If all you discover are ideas and draughts, be mindful that working with this agency may not be the best option.
If you want to be confident that the project is of the highest quality, it must be executed in a real setting and tested during numerous problems. Do not get distracted by an appealing graphic portrayal of a given concept. This will make you oblivious to other important components of your industry.
Client testimonials are another way to get to know the credibility of a product design agency. You can check for these testimonials on their website and other third-party websites such as Clutch, Trust Pilot, Good Firms etc.
You want to see that they have created a good reputation from the beginning of a product to the end of delivering it to customers.
What is their approach to the product design process?
Ensure they give specifics regarding their reporting procedure. It’s ideal for when the company holds regular meetings and produces new products. This can allow you to keep track of the progress and make suggestions.
It’s preferable to work with a company that uses iterative product development. It’s the process of coming up with new ideas, developing prototypes, and putting them to the test to see if they’re viable. Then it’s back to square one. It gives you complete control over the process and reduces the time to deliver the product.
Ensure there is transparency between you and the product design agency. For example, you need to have unlimited access to all papers, tasks, and reports.
To know how we do product and UX design at Octet, read our article on How UX Agency Follows UX Design Process.
Do they have adequate experience?
You must look at whether the agency you’re considering has experience in all aspects of product design. You need to make sure they can handle the type of project you are looking to do. Find out if they have experience doing similar projects.
Why? Because every agency has worked on specific kinds of projects and has developed expertise in them. For eg., if you are a healthcare service provider and looking to create an ERP, and the agency you hired has expertise in designing fintech products, then it is a mismatch.
In this case, it would be wise to look for an agency that has worked on medical or healthcare products. They would be in a better position to understand your requirements and can fulfil your expectations.
At Octet, we have partnered with companies from several industries – Logistics, eCommerce, Healthcare, Fintech, Edtech and Customer Experience, which is reflected in our portfolio.
We clearly have understood their business model and have helped them in gaining a competitive advantage through experience design.
Are they good communicators?
There should be clear and open communication with the agency. If you have to chase their design team for each and every update then it’s better to call off the contract.
Before starting the project, ask them about their mode of communication, who will be the point of contact and how you can track your project’s progress.
Nowadays, the use of collaboration tools has made it easier for clients and agencies to coordinate on a real-time basis and be in sync with each other.
At Octet, we prefer to use Microsoft Teams for internal communication, Slack for client communication and emails to share project related information.
Do they have a creative & strategic design approach?
Designing a product is a complex endeavour with many moving pieces, all with far-reaching and interconnected implications.
As with any construction project, its success depends on a proper approach and a thorough and intentional process.
A product design agency that adopts a strategic approach and leverages creativity is the most ideal one.
Because, if they lack in any of these aspects, the product will fail to meet its users’ expectations and ultimately results in business failure.
At Octet, we balance both strategy and creativity, which ensures that the product is meaningful, functional, memorable and intuitive.
Product design agencies work in tandem with your business goals and the overall product’s scope, market acceptance, usability, & aesthetics.
Finding the right one requires a lot of research from the ground. We hope you find the right fit for your product.
Now that you have read this article, and know how to choose the right agency, have a look at our work, process and team and decide if we are the right fit for you or not.
No matter what stage you are in – ideation, optimisation or transformation, we can help you facilitate your product design process. Get in touch with us at +91 85111 88998 or drop an email at [email protected]
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