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How You Can Design Products Remotely During Lockdown

The year 2020 has forced many businesses to ask themselves one important question: “Can you really go about your regular business using only remote technologies?”

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many enterprises to cease in-person interactions and revolutionize the way they get their work done. The same is true for product development teams. In this blog, we want to share some of the insights we’ve learned from years spent developing products with the help of remote technologies.

Why should you trust us?

At Innovolo, we’ve been using virtual technologies long before COVID-19 forced the world to comply with a new world of work. We connect with clients, arrange important design and brainstorming sessions, and conduct many of our internal business activities through virtual technologies. For all the things that are important to keep an organisation running, we’ve taken them virtually!

In that time, we’ve seen what works (and what doesn’t)! So if you keep reading, we’ll let you in on how we keep business running smoothly on the virtual networks.

What is virtual technology?

Virtual technology is a broad term. Everything from email to video conferencing can be classified as a technology-based solution to connecting people online.

For the purposes of surviving (and thriving) during a global health pandemic, consider virtual technologies as an essential item on your “to-do list”. If you haven’t already gotten on board, then now is the time!

They come in many different shapes and sizes, including:

  • Online messaging platforms like email programs, Google Mail, and instant messaging solutions like Microsoft Teams.
  • Online video conferencing technologies like Zoom and Skype allow you to make audio and video calls to a person or group to simulate an in-person experience.
  • Some multi-function programs offer a combination of all communication methods (IM, video calls, group calls), such as Slack or Google Hangouts.

We’ll let you decide on what platform or software works best for your unique situation. The main point is that you will need some sort of software to connect you with partners, designers, and marketers during product development.

How to design a product without meeting the team in person

When people think of virtual technologies, they predict that productivity will be cut in half. However, we’ll be the first to tell you that incorporating virtual meetings into your product development process does not have to slow you down at all. Sure, it can take some getting used to. But just like anything, some practice and habits can make anything seem like second nature.

…So it’s 2020 and you have an idea for a new product. You need to put in the hard work, create a launch plan, and set realistic milestones and deadlines. How do you work with your partners or team members and ensure that the crucial conversations actually take place?

For starters, you need to get set up with some hardware:

  • Decent internet speed (broadband) – Make sure you have a good internet connection to avoid unwanted interruptions mid-call. Zoom recommends at least 3 megabits per second (Mbps) to send high-quality video.
  • Headset or speaker – A headset allows you to talk with others on the video or audio call with more clarity and reduced feedback and background noise. In a pinch, a computer’s built-in audio can work, but make sure to check your system’s hardware settings.
  • Webcam – For video calling, it’s an absolute must.

These hardware essentials will turn the fear of a mediocre, grainy, and choppy video connection into a thing of the past!

duotone - Innovolo Product Development and Design - Innovation-as-a-Service

Choose “video call” over “regular call”

If you think you can skip the cost and effort of setting up a space for video calling while relying on phone calls, think again. Speaking on-screen has several advantages over a basic phone call:

  1. Body language – Picking up on visual cues from other people allows you to go into more depth on potential problems and spot genuine enthusiasm for an innovative idea. It’s been said that up to 55 percent of communication comes from cues in body language. That makes video calling an irreplaceable tool for virtual product development.
  2. Share ideas in physical space – You can create powerful (and persuasive) interactions by using props, drawings or showing off physical objects in real-time.
  3. Share your screen – When picking out a virtual platform, you might want to go with one that allows you to share your computer screen with others. That way, you can securely share a presentation or demonstrate on-screen examples with your teams in practical ways.

The next time you need to speak with someone about your new product development, try suggesting a video call over a regular audio-only conversation. Then, remember these three tricks to make the chat more engaging, professional, and productive.

Wrap up

Even though you may be restricted to using virtual technologies, that doesn’t mean you have to abandon your product plans and leave your idea in limbo. Since things move so fast in the product design world, leaving your idea on the shelf to collect dust until “after COVID” is the first step to throwing the idea in the trash bin forever.

Sure, being forced to take things online can be an inconvenience. But think of the problem as being yet another opportunity: there is a new and emerging global appetite for innovative products that solve new issues.

Are you going to let a Zoom call get in the way of being a pioneer?


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