How to design effective digital products

Learn UX Design

Good Monday! It’s Mario from 😊

The weekly email that makes learning UX design actually enjoyable.

In this week’s edition…

  • Why mobile-first design must not mean mobile-only usability

  • The cost of usability testing vs the cost of engineering resources

  • From Usability to Desirability

  • How to design effective digital products and reduce the risk of building the wrong thing

Why mobile-first design must not mean mobile-only usability

Designing navigation patterns that are suitable for mobile devices can make desktop navigation unworkable, seriously compromising the usability of this key element of the user interface (UI). 

According to NNgroup [1], there are several reasons why porting a UI to different platforms without a dedicated design strategy it will damage the user experience (UX).

Most importantly,

every UI platform features unique capabilities and thus will have unique design requirements to deliver the best UX. Multi-platform design is essential to deliver the optimal UX for users across different platforms.

The cost of usability testing vs the cost of engineering resources

While it’s true that usability testing can be expensive, what is really costly is devoting engineering resources to building a solution that doesn’t work.

Usability testing will help to ensure that you build a solution that has the desired outcome and functions properly. The losses caused by not testing a solution and then building the wrong thing will always be higher than preliminary testing costs.

To learn more about this issue, start with this article [2] from UserTesting’s blog.

From Usability to Desirability

In terms of delivering an acceptable user experience, usability is the very least that people expect. However, if you can offer desirability as well, you will have a product that stands out from the rest. 

Desirability is not only concerned with creating a product that people find easy to use but also one that users prefer over other options. Functionality is vital but it is an issue that should be addressed before the design process begins.

IDF [3] is spot on when they argue that the UX team is unlikely to have control over brand experience. Rather, brand experience tends to fall within the marketing team’s list of responsibilities.  

How to design effective digital products and reduce the risk of building the wrong thing

1. Start with user research and field studies 🔍

Task analysis enables you to understand how users perform tasks and achieve objectives, while user testing and interviews are vital to fully comprehend users’ needs and identify the opportunities to satisfy them.
By using research activities, you can gather data on a range of elements, such as journey maps, personas, use cases, and user stories, that will give you and your team a clear picture of your users.

2. Test low-fidelity concepts and prototypes with real end-users 👥

You can gain valuable insights into users and confirm their core needs, expectations and feature hypotheses simply by testing a rough concept of your product.
Prototype testing helps you prioritize product features, define user flows and find unknown areas of risks or opportunities.

3. Iterate on the design 🎯

To create a product that is the best fit for your target users, you must iterate.
Test design assumptions on a small number of users and utilize the analyses of their experiences to create an improved iteration of your product. Refine your design in increments to get the most out of each test round.

*Originally published at

Today’s design quote

“Users will never forget how your product or service made them feel.”

— Mario Maruffi, Via Carol Buchner and others.