What is Digital Product Development?

Stacy Henry

6 min read

Jun 16, 2020

What is Digital Product Development?

What Is Digital Product Development?

Whether you lead a startup with an ambitious app idea, or a booming business with an internal application that needs an update, investing in digital product development can give you the tools you need to give your end-users the experience they want and need. 

But, you might be asking yourself, what exactly is digital product development, anyhow?

In a nutshell, digital product development, or DPD as the Nerds call it, is the art of taking a brilliant idea or existing applications and turning it into a stunning digital product that surprises and delights your end-users and provides your business with real and profitable outcomes. 

Now, we’d love to chat with you and tell you all the amazing benefits of DPD. But, if you’d like a primer before jumping in, we’ve got you covered there as well. 

The Process of Digital Product Development

At heart, Digital Product Development is about building an authentically useful application—be it web or mobile—that will serve your end users and provide the most value for your company. It’s work that is best entered into with purpose and with the right digital product agency on your side—a team that includes engineers, designers, and project strategists all working towards the same goal. 

Once you’ve gotten your project ready to go and your team in place, what happens next? While each and every digital product will have a unique through-line, here are some of the common elements each project should have.  

  • Discovering the Known and Unknown – DPD begins with a discovery of your unique business needs, which includes understanding active stakeholders, your target market, and any flaws in your current system. If needed, this process can include a developer and designer taking a look at your existing product and setting the current state as much as the anticipated destination. It’s here that the beginnings of your experience-driven transformation begins in earnest. 
  • Getting the Work Done – This is where the fun really begins and your DPD firm begins the meat of the project. Using Agile methodology, the engineers and designers begin building out the work that came from the discovery period. Throughout the engagement, your project strategist will be in constant communication—sharing updates, asking and answering questions, and generally keeping the project on track on both the client and firm side. 
  • Guidance and Mentorship – Throughout the project, your DPD team should do more than just clock in and clock out. A true partner can provide guidance throughout the project meaning that your product and your team are better at the end of the engagement than the beginning.  

Throughout the entire project, your chosen firm should have two main goals in mind—delivering the best experience possible for your end-users and delivering real outcomes for your business. And, seeing as you probably picked up on that buzzword we used a bit earlier, let’s take a look at what exactly experience-driven transformation is. 

What is Experience-Driven Transformation?

In essence, it’s about finding the right and best solution for your end-users and discovering the disconnects in your business. The logic here is that if we start with an experience-based solution that is focused first and foremost on the user, the rest will take care of itself. Now, it’s never as simple as that, so let’s take a look at the details of the experience-driven transformation. 

Experience-driven transformation starts by understanding people in context. In other words, digging deep into the motivations of your end-users and what they need but aren’t getting from their current experience. It’s through this process that a clearer picture of the end-user is brought to light—information that is then used once the work actually begins.  

Now, the problem with experience-driven transformation is that it’s a bit like pour-over coffee—everyone is talking about it but people rarely know how to do it correctly. That’s why smart business leaders know to turn to the experts. 

How the Nerds Use Experience-Driven Transformation for DPD

Because it champions the end-user, a focus on experience seeps into every step of a digital product’s development. As a result, your partner agency and your team never lose sight of your target market in the process. 

At the Ranch, that plays out in the following: 

  • We spend the time upfront getting to know you, your business, and your end-users. It’s through this discovery process that we’ll uncover the issues that you know about and perhaps some that you don’t. This is the stage where we chart our destination and trace a path on our map.
  • When it’s time to get to work, we bring the whole Ranch. That means that you’ll get a senior engineer, a UI/UX designer, and a dedicated project strategist. Using the mutually decided upon a roadmap, your BNR team designs and develops your application with your end-users’ needs firmly in mind.
  • Throughout the entire process, our team is providing guidance to yours. This is more than just technical details or rapid prototypes (though, you will get that as well!). Our team will help you navigate obstacles in the process and ensure that the app you get not only works for your end-users but also makes the most sense for your business.  

With a focus on experience, our design, engineering, and project strategist teams can create an optimal product for your end-user.

So is a Digital Product Development Firm the Right Fit for Me? 

Digital product development done right can be an investment—both in time and money. So how do you know if you should get involved with a firm? We’re so glad you asked! 

Some common scenarios for companies could be: 

  • You have an idea for an amazing application, but lack the team or don’t know what sort of work or skill set it requires. 
  • You have an idea and a team but they lack the pertinent Android, iOS, web, or design skillset.
  • You’ve got an app that’s, well…it’s fine…and you could use some help getting your ratings up and just generally building out a better experience. 

The types of solutions you might be looking to implement could be:

  • Field Service – A purpose-built application for your employees that work primarily outside of your firewall. 
  • Digital Brokerage – Solutions that provide your end-users access to their data or connecting them more efficiently to digital marketplaces. 
  • Security and Regulatory – These solutions require a high level or regulatory compliance and are typically centered around the healthcare and FinTech markets, 
  • Voice UI and Chat Bots – Provides a more efficient and streamlined connection to the consumer. 
  • Multiexperience Development – Gives your users an intuitive and engaging experience across platforms. 

From developing a brand new digital product to simply improving an existing one, a digital product development firm can power up your business by modernizing your digital presence, streamlining your workflow, and energizing your team.

The best ones, like Big Nerd Ranch, won’t stop there. They will also teach your team how to continuously improve upon these products and systems—even after the experts have left the building.

Let Big Nerd Ranch Be Your Product Development Partner

Big Nerd Ranch is the digital product development firm with the design and engineering experience to take on any problem—and the nerdiness to enjoy the entire process.

Not only do we have over twenty years of experience in the tech and problem-solving world, but we literally wrote the book on web and mobile development (no, seriously, we’ve written several of the books). 

Our end goal? 

To leave our clients with invigorated teams and beautiful digital products.

Big Nerd Ranch wants to become your digital product partner—we can take all of the market research, prototyping, and usability testing out of your hands so you can focus on what you do best—running a thriving business. We can also mentor your existing team to produce better products, faster. Check out our services or set up a call to learn more about what our nerds can do for your next project.

Stacy Henry

Author Big Nerd Ranch

Stacy is the current COO for projekt202 and former CEO and General Manager of Big Nerd Ranch. She’s overseen the creation of world-class digital products that support large-scale businesses around the world, including Google and Amazon.

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