Have you ever wondered why some digital products resonate with you while others fall flat? The secret lies in good digital product design – the blending of form and function to create intuitive and delightful user experiences. And if you are preparing to launch a new digital product or service, you are in the right place.
In this article, we'll explore the magic behind six standout digital products which showcase the principles of good design and bonus - we will draw inspiration from our favourite features and design elements for each product so you can build yours accordingly. But, first things first, what makes a product design successful?
What is good digital product design?
Good design is about creating an effective, user-friendly, aesthetically pleasing, and valuable product or service for your target users. It involves understanding your user needs, business goals, and technological possibilities. Here are some fundamental principles of good digital product design:
- User-Centric: Good digital product design should always focus on the user. It means understanding user needs, preferences, and behaviours through research and designing solutions that meet their expectations. This can include conducting surveys, interviews, and usability testing.
- Simplicity: The product should be easy to use and understand. Overly complex interfaces can confuse users and make the product inaccessible. A minimalist approach often works best, providing users with what they need and nothing more.
- Consistency: Consistent design helps users know what to expect. This can include visual elements (like colours, typography, and icons), interaction patterns (like swiping and tapping), and even the language used across the product.
- Accessibility: A well-designed digital product is accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. This might involve designing for screen readers, providing captions for audio, or ensuring high contrast for readability.
- Responsiveness: The product should work seamlessly on various devices, platforms, and screen sizes. This means designing for mobile, tablet, and desktop versions.
- Feedback and Interaction: Users should receive immediate feedback on their actions. If they click a button, they should know that something is happening. Interaction should be intuitive and predictable.
- Visual Hierarchy: Important elements should be more prominent and attract attention. This helps users understand what to focus on and makes the interface easier to navigate.
- Performance: Even with a good user interface, a product won't be well-received if it's slow or unresponsive. A good digital product design considers performance from the early stages of design.
- Scalability: Good design considers not just the present but also the future. The design should handle user growth, complexity, and data without significant redesigns.
- Data-Informed Decisions: Use quantitative and qualitative data to make informed design decisions. This can involve analysing usage data, A/B testing, or conducting user interviews and surveys.
Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works. -Steve Jobs
Good digital product design is not just about aesthetics. It's about creating a seamless user experience that allows them to achieve their goals with ease and satisfaction.
Excelling in Digital Product Design: Six Noteworthy Examples
Let's explore six B2B and B2C digital products that have nailed the design principles and let's get inspired!
Slack, a widely-used communication tool in the business sphere, has excelled at being user-centric. Its design puts user needs and expectations at the forefront, offering a simple and intuitive interface that allows users to communicate and collaborate efficiently. From onboarding to day-to-day usage, every interaction is seamless and uncomplicated.
Consistency is another design principle Slack has nailed. No matter what device you're using - be it web, mobile, or desktop - the design, interface, and experience remain the same. This consistency significantly enhances the user experience and keeps it fluid.
In terms of interaction, users receive immediate feedback on their actions through notifications and message confirmations. Performance-wise, Slack is quick to load and offers real-time updates, making team communication fast and reliable.
🌟 Favourite Feature: Slack's ability to organise conversations into dedicated channels is a real game-changer. It streamlines team communication by grouping relevant discussions, reducing clutter and enhancing productivity.
🎨 Favourite design element: The use of colour in Slack's design is particularly noteworthy. Different colours help distinguish channels, direct messages, and user statuses, making navigation intuitive and aesthetically pleasing.
Airbnb is a prime example of a user-centric B2C platform. It offers a seamless, intuitive experience for both hosts and guests. The search process is designed to allow users to quickly find what they're looking for, while the listing process is just as simple for hosts.
Airbnb's design elements remain consistent, which helps users navigate the platform with ease. Interactive features like map views and filters further enhance the user experience. Moreover, Airbnb emphasises accessibility, offering detailed accessibility information for its listings.
🌟 Favourite Feature: The personalised search feature on Airbnb is brilliant. It tailors the search results according to the user's preferences, making searching for the perfect accommodation a personalised and enjoyable experience.
🎨 Favourite design element: The design of Airbnb's location cards, complete with high-quality images, pricing, and ratings, provide essential information at a glance. They make browsing options enjoyable and decision-making easier, a true testament to effective visual hierarchy.
The I&I platform, developed by Calls9, is a user-centric solution explicitly tailored for dentists seeking the best insurance coverage. They maintained a consistent and vibrant brand across all platform aspects through the design process, making it easily accessible and intuitive.
Interactive elements like animations and a comparison engine provide immediate feedback, creating an engaging user experience. Performance is evident in the platform's ability to swiftly sort through large data sets, providing users with quick, accurate comparisons. The community aspect further enhances user interaction, allowing dentists to share experiences, thus facilitating a transparent and informed choice in insurance selection.
🌟 Favourite Feature: The quick and easy onboarding process of I&I is its standout feature. It eases dentists into the platform smoothly, making the often complex task of comparing and choosing insurance cover remarkably straightforward.
🎨 Favourite design element: I&I's use of animations and an animated explainer video adds a layer of fun to a typically mundane process. Apart from adding aesthetic value, the animations also aid in user comprehension, making the comparison process engaging and intuitive.
Spotify shines due to its personalised, user-centric design. The design and interface remain consistent across all devices, which helps users easily navigate the platform. Spotify also demonstrates a clear visual hierarchy, with prominent play buttons and album art, leading users intuitively through the interface.
The "Discover Weekly" feature enhances the interaction by providing users with personalised recommendations based on their listening habits. Performance-wise, Spotify ensures a seamless music streaming experience, responding quickly to user commands.
🌟 Favourite Feature: Spotify's "Discover Weekly" playlist is a favourite feature. This personalised list of music recommendations, updated every week, introduces users to new music based on their listening habits, showing the power of data-driven personalisation in enhancing the user experience.
🎨 Favourite design element: The dark theme used in Spotify's design stands out. Apart from being easier on the eyes, it makes album art pop, creating a visually stimulating and immersive music exploration experience for users.
Zoom's rise to prominence, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, can largely be attributed to its user-centric approach. It offers simple, intuitive controls for initiating and managing video meetings. These controls are consistent across all devices, making it easy for users of all tech-proficiency levels to get on board.
Zoom has also prioritised accessibility, offering features such as live captions and keyboard shortcuts to improve the user experience for people with disabilities. Regarding performance, Zoom does a commendable job of maintaining video and audio quality, even with many participants.
🌟 Favourite Feature: Zoom's "Breakout Rooms" feature, which enables splitting up meeting participants into smaller groups, enhances collaboration and discussion dynamics in a user-friendly manner.
🎨 Favourite design element: The minimalist design of Zoom's user interface stands out. The clean, uncluttered interface with intuitive icons and controls eliminates unnecessary distractions, allowing users to focus on the meeting at hand.
Duolingo has mastered the user-centric approach by making language learning fun and engaging. Its design and visuals remain consistent across all platforms, making the user experience familiar and intuitive. Duolingo uses gamification to make learning interactive, providing incentives like streaks, points, and levels to engage users.
A clear visual hierarchy directs users' attention to learning tasks, helping them navigate the app intuitively. Also, Duolingo has successfully made language learning accessible to users worldwide by offering courses in numerous languages. The app performs smoothly, ensuring users can learn without interruptions or slow-downs.
🌟 Favourite Feature: Duolingo's "Streak Count" is a personal favourite. It motivates learners to keep coming back daily and maintain their learning streak, thus gamifying the learning experience and making it more engaging.
🎨 Favourite design element: Duolingo's mascot, Duo, the owl, adds a touch of personality to the app. Duo pops up with motivating messages and reminders, giving the app a friendly and engaging tone while reinforcing Duolingo's branding.
As we draw our exploration of digital product design to a close, it's clear that the magic recipe for these successful products boils down to emphasising our key design principles. All the heavy hitters, from Slack to I&I, have woven user-centricity, consistency, accessibility, interaction, visual hierarchy, and performance into the fabric of their design. They've shown us that understanding the user and tailoring the design to meet their needs is the key to success.
But remember – good digital product design isn't about slapping a one-size-fits-all solution on your product. Every digital product is as unique as the users it serves, and the design should reflect this uniqueness. It's about constantly dipping your toes in the user's waters, iterating based on their feedback, and striving for improvement.
How can you get started with digital product design?
At Calls9, we specialise in designing, building and launching disruptive digital products and services. From marketing platforms and customer portals to international sales systems and internal business tools, we combine technical and creative skills to create products that are optimised for usability and performance.
With our Team as a Service model, you will get access to a team of experts embedded in your internal one to extend your capabilities and speed up time to market.