Digital products are everywhere nowadays.
Nearly every startup is focusing on digital product development to solve a customer problem, launch a new service or delight more customers than before.
This article will help you understand the seven phases of digital product development in the modern era.
The anatomy of a digital product
Digital products are dominating the modern world like no other innovation in human history.
From chatbots to cab-hailing apps, food ordering services to SaaS platforms, nearly everything that is packaged in the form of a software or an app is a digital product.
Digital products are a step ahead of the conventional websites where the goal is to inform alone.
Now, digital products are all about solving a real-life problem by making use of technology. In short, everything that serves you is a digital product.
Developing a digital product: Essential digital product development phases
Any modern software product development company would reinstate the fact that a phase-wise development approach is pertinent to the success of a digital product.
But how should one move ahead with the process?
Here are some useful steps you should follow while developing your digital product:
Phase 1: Research, Analysis, and Planning
This is the most important step in your entire product development lifecycle.
Whether you are planning to launch artificial intelligence services or an innovative mobile app, planning is the key to your success.
Without proper research and planning, you will end up wasting time, effort and money towards something you never wished to focus on.
This step would give you clarity on the fact if you should proceed with digital product development.
At this step, you should focus on a solution-based approach where you should:
- Understand the user requirements through intensive market research
- Ideate with a broad perspective to expand the scope of your digital product
- Finalize your product development budget to eliminate chances of overspending
- Focus on perfecting a minimal viable product (MVP) before you exhaust all your resources on non-important features, early on.
Phase 2: Start with Wireframing and Sketching
The planning phase would help you clear out your head and create a streamlined path towards product development.
Once you have a solid plan, you should focus on how your digital product should appear.
If you are working with a software product development company, you should ask for their expert advice on mastering the preliminary wireframes for your digital product.
Phase 3: Designing
When you are this deep in the product engineering process, it’s time to start thinking about how your product should look and feel.
The design phase would give you an idea about how your product would appear and interact with real users.
The key here is to develop an intuitive interface that simplifies the workflow and makes it easier for users to get the most out of your product.
The best way to perfect the design part is focusing on creating a clickable prototype that showcases how your digital product would function on different devices.
For the best user experience, you would need to focus on the minor details- animations, transitions, menu appearances and other small elements within the software, app or digital product.
Phase 4: Prototyping
A critical part of the product engineering and development lifecycle is prototyping.
The prototype is a highly scaled-down version of the actual product with bare minimum features.
The goal of creating a prototype is to analyze and test how your target audience will respond to your product.
This phase can even merge with the MVP development process and focuses more on functionality than the design part.
If you are using third-party product development services, you should ask for a functional prototype that you can ask real users to use and provide feedback.
Based on this prelim feedback, you can make iterations to your existing product development approach.
Phase 5: Agile Development
This phase essentially kickstarts the coding activity.
When you are thinking about fresh product development, try to engage with a team that adopts an agile approach towards development.
This would help in making real-time adjustments to your product and accelerate the process of product evolution.
Agile development methodology gives a product owner more control over the end-result and results in higher development productivity and better value for end-users.
The entire product development process will be broken down into sprints where routine testing and iterations would promise the best performance and results.
Phase 6: Launch & Marketing
With the completion of the development phase, you would be ready to present your product to the real users.
The most important part of your launch process should be to have an effective marketing and launch strategy.
This would help you avoid last-minute goof ups and get maximum traction from the launch activity.
Here are a few tips to effectively launch your digital product:
- Go for a soft/beta launch before a full-scale rollout to identify and eliminate bugs
- Never overpromise and underdeliver. It’s better to keep a low profile till the time you are confident
- Have a clear marketing and communication plan with clear target personas
Phase 7: Maintenance & Support
After you are successful with your launch, don’t just lean back. Instead, create a proper maintenance and support plan for your digital product.
Brainstorm with your product development partner to draft long-term service level agreement (SLA) for maintenance and support.
This will help you keep your digital product free from bugs throughout the entire product journey.
You can hire a digital product development company with credibility and experience of maintaining apps, software and other digital products.
Building a product from scratch is a tough ordeal for any startup.
By bringing an experienced software product development company onboard, the process of new product development can improve phenomenally.
Before you choose to do anything with your product idea, it’s better to get in touch with developers who can guide you through various phases and suggest the best course of action for new product development.
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I’m Namee, a digital marketer working for Azilen Technologies. I’m also passionate about exploring and writing about innovation, technology including AI, IOT, Big Data, and HR Tech.