Many times, envisioning a product can’t seem to start without design. For the products that don’t start with design, will need design soon enough. The scope touches designing the technology around it, designing its interface, designing its experience. The product has to be conceptualised on these parameters based on the problem it’s solving. We’ve been in both situations, when we received a product that didn’t have a well designed foundation. And when we designed the product ground-up.
It is really crucial to lay the right foundation of the product. To see the product as a design challenge rather than an implementation challenge. And that is why organisations like IDEO are able to make such a great impact.
When we built a healthcare product(rebranded since then to become a different company), a healthcare application, we set the foundation with meaningful design that continues to be useful. And recently while working on a new product we validated how design first approach can be the right start. While extending the healthcare product with a new subsidiary or a supporting application, we were happy that our clients chose the path of going design first. It benefitted in resolving the pain points, doing better than existing systems (the competition), and in figuring out new opportunities.
Setting the design language in the beginning makes it easier to scale the product further in terms of technology and usability. On the other hand, a product built on a faulty foundation gives rise to a weak structure. And the scope and cost of correcting it later becomes too high.
However, it may not be intentional that the product does not get a design treatment, a business may face many kinds of constraints. There are better ways to deal with these constraints, given ignorance isn’t one of them.