What are the major pitfalls in product design? Perfectionism. Putting too much emphasis on features that most users never engage with. Neglecting to conduct A/B tests. A lack of basic analytics. I could go on, but the trend is clear: companies that miss the mark with the UX of their software do so through a lack of focus and insufficient planning. Luckily, there’s an easy fix for that.
When working on your product, it’s useful to go through a list of the most common mistakes made during the software development process. Once you know about them, you’ll have little trouble avoiding them. The following are the pitfalls encountered most often during product development projects. After over a decade of working on such commercial projects, we have worked out a number of solutions for them.
This may be a painful truth, but it’s impossible to create a perfect product. Especially not from scratch. Look at any big player, like Apple or Netflix - they are endlessly improving their offer, tools and brand. So will you, but to get started on this process, you need to release an initial version of your product. Usually, an MVP (minimum viable product) contains only a basic set of features, the ones that allow the user to interact with the product and are necessary to translate the business concept into the form of an app.
Starting with such a limited scope can not only protect you from approaching your app with the perfectionist mindset. It’s also a great way to go to market more quickly and begin gaining traction. You will also receive feedback from real users, allowing you to truly understand their wants and needs.
Focus on the wrong features
Speaking of limiting the scope of your project: you need to establish which of your product’s features are actually important to your business. It’s easy to spot the online businesses that prioritize terribly, focusing on functionality that won’t be used by 99% of their user base. To avoid this, determine which features are a major selling point for your product. What makes it unique or accessible to your target group? What solves the users’ problem or matches their needs? This will be the core of your product, and you should give it appropriate attention.
Lack of A/B testing
At iRonin, we believe in quality assurance that’s baked into the entire software development process. One QA tool we often recommend for product design are A/B tests. Instead of basing your decisions partially on intuition, focus on data. A/B tests may be conducted with all users, or only users who explicitly agreed to take part in beta testing the features of your product. Show two versions of a feature or design to your audience, and let them decide what meets their needs. If you don’t, you’re likely to miss crucial opportunities and end up with a mediocre product.
Lack of basic analytics
The moment you put your product into your users’ hands, you should begin gathering key metrics to track your progress. You don’t need to monitor everything - too much data tends to lead to confusion - but the basics, like app downloads, average session duration, conversion rates and goal tracking are all easy to gather and highly valuable. In many cases, you will need to gather unique data points from within your system, which is why you should start thinking about how to implement tracking them early on.
We have already covered the MVP approach, and this pitfall is closely connected to the problem of going for too much, too fast. Remember that you will be starting with zero users. What does your app need to attract the first few users and keep their attention? The ability to handle a large amount of traffic since day zero is definitely the wrong answer.
It’s key to focus on what’s within your reach, in terms of budget, timeline, and the skillset of your team. You can add new features and scale later, as long as the product is built to be easy to maintain. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t aim for ambitious goals. Simply make sure that you are realistic in judging your situation.
Lack of a business mindset
Finally, a pitfall that is particularly sad to witness. Product owners can get so caught up in cutting-edge technology, unique features and their vision for what the product should be, that they forget about the business side of things. Your project likely needs a solid marketing strategy long before its launch. You should start gathering a customer base the moment you can show them a preview on a landing page. Will your app handle sensitive data? Find legal advisors who’ll help you determine what you need to do to avoid breaking the law. Make sure you know what you need to do to succeed in your industry.
As you can see, avoiding these pitfalls shouldn’t be a challenge now that you’re aware of them. Some may be more difficult to overcome than others. For example, determining which features are too costly to develop as part of your MVP, you may need the help of experienced software developers. If that’s the case, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. Our experts work hard to understand each client’s business and ensure its success.
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Software products expert focused on maximizing business value of products and offering great UX. Crafting meaningful solutions with strategic and analytical approach. In love with design systems, inclusive design and user security.