During the early design stages of product development, many technical words and acronyms are used. Some of these methods are even carried over and used during the first stage of technology being released; you may have come across MVP or UX already. Testing, tools, and techniques are used to ensure the product design is easy to use and fulfil its purpose. Gathering feedback from potential users is critical, even this early on in the products life.

Term

Definition

MVP

An MVP is a learning tool to help shape the finished product's designs and features that will go to market. It is an early version of a product with just enough features to create a feedback loop with early adopters for future product development. It should only contain a fraction of your overall product vision at this stage.

UX (User Experience)

UX is a methodology of designing products and services that make the user the prime focus of design decisions. A user's pain points, perspective and ease of use is taken into account from the beginning of the product lifecycle. It is an important aspect of product design; the product may solve a particular problem but, if it is not easy to use and creates a negative experience for the user, it may put them off buying it. It is not only useful for digital products but also for the design of physical products.

UI (User Interface)

In the context of a digital product or a service, UI is the manifestation of user experience's design decisions. A user interface is where the user will interact with the product; for example, in a web application, this can include the main page, buttons, colour scheme and other aesthetic elements.

A/B testing

A/B testing is a simple shorthand research technique to test ideas and gather feedback from an audience. The basic principle is to split your audience and show them two different variants of a product or idea. It's useful for product design to figure out aspects like user engagement and reactions of features and layout. This data can then help the design team work out the best choices for the final product based on user behaviour.

Heatmap

Product heatmaps are a data visualization tool that helps businesses understand how particular features are performing when tested. They show a graphical representation of data in a diagram or a map, with different colours denoting different values.

Most heatmap tools use a warm-to-cold colour scheme to show performance. The warmest colours (red, orange, yellow) indicate where the highest visitor engagement and the cooler shades (blue, light blue) indicate lower reactions. Using this tool at the early MVP stages of development can be extremely powerful; cooler shades could indicate a feature that is not needed or not seen by a user, so the design may need to change.