Best Practices for Digital Product Development

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Digital product development is a complex process that requires careful planning, clear strategies, and many decisions to be made even before starting the initiation. However, by carefully approaching digital product management, it is possible to avoid these complexities. This blog explores the digital product development process and its best practices to help you achieve your goal.

What is a Digital Product Development?

Digital products are intangible products or services, i.e software delivered electronically through digital technology or internet channels. It has no specific form as it includes many services for a wide range of purposes.

In simpler terms, digital products can’t be held, tasted, or touched, but their presence is pervasive, catering to customers from diverse backgrounds’ needs. It includes—from music to videos, ebooks to online courses, and beyond.

Digital Product Examples

1. Software applications
2. Digital content
3. Online services
4. Subscription-based models
5. Online courses and E-learning
6. Virtual products

  • Software applications are computer programs, mobile apps, and web apps designed to carry out particular tasks. To build robust software applications you must reach out to a reliable software development company .
  • Electronic products, including e-books, videos, podcasts, online classes, and streaming services that are accessible online and are downloaded for offline usage are referred to as “digital content.”
  • Online services include Cloud storage, SaaS platforms, dating applications, and subscription-based services. Services like Amazon Prime, Spotify, and Netflix are all accessible remotely by eliminating the requirement for local installation,?
  • Subscription-based models like Netflix and Amazon Prime are offered as subscription-based services, with pre-determined fees for consumers to access their services. These fees are often paid monthly or annually.
  • Online courses and E-learning refers to digital products that improve education’s accessibility and adaptability by offering a variety of e-learning resources and courses for students spanning a range of disciplines and abilities.
  • Decentralized blockchain technology enables the sole digital distribution of virtual products like cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens.

Meaning: Digital Product Development

The process of creating digital products is referred to as “digital product development.” It involves various stages such as project establishment, research, design, development, testing, and finally, the digital product launch. This process encompasses creating software programs, mobile applications, and platforms.

Digital products are objects that are connected to digital processes. It includes smartphones and televisions, among other things. However, this article will primarily focus on software digital products and software product planning.

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Roles Involved in a Digital Product Development Team

There are multiple roles involved in the process of digital product development. In developing a digital product, various roles contribute to the successful creation of the digital product. The entire team is responsible, and these roles are minimal in the whole process:-

a) Product Manager:
The project manager is the responsible person who plays a crucial role in decision-making & ensures the project aligns with the vision and strategy. They define the features and project goals and act as the connecting link between the stakeholders and the development team.

b) UX/UI Designer or Product Designer:
The individual is responsible for designing a digital product’s user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), including wireframes, prototypes, and mockups, to ensure that it is visually appealing and user-friendly.

c) Developer or Engineer:
Developers or engineers create, test, and deploy digital products, including backend, frontend, and full-stack developers, depending on project requirements, and are responsible for writing, testing, and deploying the product for market release.

d) UX Researcher:
Their role involves providing valuable user feedback, analyzing data, and identifying design patterns, which inform design and development decisions.

e) UX Writer:
UX writers assist in creating copy for necessary elements of digital products, including instructions and buttons.

f) Project Manager:
A project manager is responsible for defining the project timelines, budgets, and resources. They serve as the coordinators who handle product development-related tasks and ensure the project is on track.

g) QA Tester:
The role involves identifying and reporting defects in product functionality, collaborating with the team, and ensuring a stable, reliable digital product before release to achieve high quality.

h) Product marketer:
The role involves promoting a product and driving user adoption through effective marketing strategies, including market research, messaging, and user engagement.

i) Stakeholders & business owners:
The team, comprising executives, investors, and other decision-makers, plays a crucial role in digital product development by providing input on project goals, requirements, and priorities.

Digital Product Development: A Complete Overview

The main phase of digital product development starts with the primary stage, which further begins with certain preliminary tasks, such as establishing the product development concept. The development phase and iterative phase later follows it.

a) Primary Stage

Organizational goals:

The initial stage of creating a digital product is determining its purpose and value, and carrying this out for new businesses or startups is important. This stage involves creating a detailed business plan that covers the product, marketing, finances, goals, and objectives.

Ideation & market research:

After the organizational goals are defined, engaging cross-functional teams in brainstorming and idea-generation sessions is crucial. These teams include developers, project managers, stakeholders, and product managers. The other step is to conduct market research to identify gaps in the market, understand customer needs, and analyze the competition. The team must have open discussions and collectively make decisions throughout this process.

Rough shaping:

Right after defining the initial business goals and conducting market research, the next step is to proceed with rough shaping. Rough shaping helps to determine the features of the digital product and prepare necessary documents such as rough design layouts, flow charts, diagrams, and spreadsheets. The rough shaping stage involves the entire team reviewing the product’s preliminary sketch. This stage does not replace the development of digital products but rather guides the digital product development process.

Digital product strategy:

A digital product strategy outlines the required steps for a product’s existence and release in the marketplace for end-users. It influences the initial business strategy and the product’s rough shaping, outlining essential steps, a specific development budget, release nature, milestones, and goals.

2) Development Stage:

The product manager, designers, and developers collaborate to create high-quality digital products during development. Every member of the team presents unique expertise and perspective to the project, ensuring the final product meets the essential quality deliverables.
Below are the key steps involved in this phase:-

a) Exploration & brief information

After getting a clear outline of the product’s shape and strategy, the next step is to check for the questions and assumptions that are likely to arise. Resolving these questions can ensure the project heads in the right direction. This stage is essential for aligning the team’s efforts, regardless of their role in previous strategy work.

– Develop a deeper understanding of the problem to be resolved
It is necessary to understand the problem which needs to be addressed. This involves identifying the target customers, their specific pain points, and when and how frequently they experience these challenges. It’s also important to consider the relevance of your solution in fixing issues for your user base and to assess the competition within the market. Understanding the organizational history can also provide insight into whether competitors have faced and resolved similar problems.

It is important to conduct user testing, competitor analysis, and trend analysis to gain deeper insights.

– Create a fundamental strategy to solve the issue
Start with developing your product; it is recommended to start with brainstorming sessions, storyboarding, mind mapping, and other ideation techniques. Consider multiple options and then review and refine them through an iterative process. Once you have a few viable options, conduct user testing on wireframes to assess their effectiveness and refine the navigation of the product development process.

– Formulate a short summary
Product managers can create a concise document outlining project details using tools like Slack, Trello, or Asana. The document should comprehensively describe the problem statement, technical requirements, project limitations, and proposed approaches. It should also include spreadsheets, wireframe drawings, and diagrams created with whiteboarding tools like Miro and Stormboard.

b) Design

– Product designers are crucial in the initial stages of project development, ensuring they understand the project’s brief and employ their unique approach to creating visually appealing layouts.

– Designers often use low-fidelity concepts to establish consensus in project design, while diagrammatic flows help establish user connections and evaluate design options. Each approach has its advantages and may be better suited for different project requirements, resulting in a more thorough and successful design.

– Designers must carefully choose the most suitable approach to tackle issues, adjusting tactics depending on the situation. Tools like Figma, InVision, and Adobe XD are effective options for overcoming challenges.

– Designers and product managers should involve developers in the discovery and design stage to avoid project deviation and create complex features that are easy to implement.

c) Development or engineering

The development team employs management techniques like Waterfall, Agile, DevOps, and Lean to create digital products. Agile emphasizes adaptability and continuous improvement, Waterfall requires step completion, DevOps combines IT operations and development, and Lean focuses on resource efficiency and quick turnaround without sacrificing quality. Each field requires unique techniques, but designers and engineers can contribute their expertise to the development stage.

Looking to develop a digital product for your enterprise?
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d) Pre-release testing

– Once the planning and development stages are complete, the next crucial step is testing. This involves internal and external user testing to ensure the quality and functionality of the product. Throughout the process, QA testers, product managers, and designers oversee the product’s coding during development.

– Digital products usually undergo Alpha and Beta testing with real users before public release. It is essential to choose user profiles carefully, closely monitor usage sessions, and gather exit data during this process. These testing practices ensure that everything works as intended, address any defects that may arise, and obtain valuable user feedback during the digital product’s development. Engineers typically resolve any issues identified during this stage, ensuring the product is ready to meet requirements before being prepared for market release.

3) Launch Phase

Launching a successful product requires a well-planned strategy that involves multiple teams beyond the development team solely responsible for technical aspects. One popular approach is the ‘soft launch’, which generates interest before the official launch. However, strategies such as big bang, staggered, or phased launches exist, each with advantages and drawbacks. Choosing the right launch strategy depends on product complexity, target audience, and market competition. Analytical insights also help teams adapt, optimize, and refine their strategy to ensure that products align with market dynamics and user preferences. A well-defined strategy and data-driven decision-making are crucial for a successful product launch.

Top 7 Business Benefits of Digital Product Development

a) Customer-centric Approach
b) Efficiency
c) Data collection
d) Low product downtime
e) Cost savings
f) Future-readiness
g) Business insights

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Important Takeaways During Digital Product Development

Key Considerations for Digital Product Development

  1.  User input is the cornerstone for the success of any digital product. Considering valuable insights offered by your niche user base can provide you with a different perspective, which is helpful.
  2.  There is no concern in implementing different project methodologies across other functional teams. Customizing your approach to the unique needs of each team can optimize the results.
  3.  Getting multiple ideas from different sources fosters innovation and can lead to breakthroughs and novel solutions.
  4.  Understanding your business goals is the key so that your digital product can achieve desirable goals.
  5.  Launching your digital product at the right time is paramount. Delaying it can create probable chances of the bad one being a hit simply because it is at the right time.

Common Mistakes to Avoid in Digital Product Development

  1.  The likelihood of your brand or long-term business success is high with MVP. Its meticulous execution will open up opportunities for further achievement.
  2.  Designing should be done later. Additionally, even with visual elements, doing background research before beginning the design step can be really helpful.
  3.  When you receive helpful advice from your team members, don’t back down. Wisdom is revered since it often results in deeper understanding and greater success.
  4.  Improve your testing procedures frequently and maintain your product current. For a product to remain excellent and relevant, this strategy is essential.
  5.  Selecting UX research allows you to acquire exceptional suggestions. Thanks to this tactical move, you can choose the most critical and useful research for the path of your product.

Why Choose OpenXcell for Digital Product Development?

If you’re looking for top-notch digital product development solutions, OpenXcell should be your go-to choice. Their vast experience has proven to deliver the best solutions tailored to your unique needs. Their team of experts offers exceptional digital product solutions and services, and one of our most remarkable recent works is TracPrac, a cutting-edge software.

TracPrac is clinical software that streamlines clinical evolution, improves the visibility of learning, and speeds up development communication in a secure digital setting. KNOW MORE

Looking for a reputable company that can help create custom digital products? Look no further than OpenXcell! With years of experience, our experts are skilled in developing innovative, high-quality products using the latest development processes, platforms, product engineering expertise, and tool technologies. Check out our services for more information.

Concluding Insights: Digital Product Development

Digital product development is a broader concept encompassing many other processes, such as– management, design, engineering, and marketing. Each process involved in digital product development is complex in itself. At a deeper level, looking more peculiarly, we find that digital product development covers the entire business process, making it a vital aspect of modern business.

If you seek help understanding Digital product development and related services, OpenXcell emerges as the leading Digital Product Development Company in India & USA. Whichever digital product is in the development stage, OpenXcell will assist you with your product development journey. Their expertise and ideas are ideal for your business to evolve in this digital realm.

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Deepali Medchal
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Articulate & piquant content creator committed to her passion for writing.

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