What is a Digital Product Agency?
A digital product agency is a company that specializes in the design and development of websites, apps, software programs, and other interactive digital products such as a company's digital transformation. The term 'digital product' can be interpreted to include anything from a website to an app on your phone. This means that the vast work of the scope for the digital product agency. Digital product agencies have been around since the advent of computers but became more popular when smartphones came on the scene because they offer many opportunities for interaction with users. Today's digital world requires not only web-based digital products but also mobile applications so it's no surprise that this field has become even more competitive over time as companies clamor to find qualified candidates who specialize in each type of technology or platform being used today.
But What Really is a Digital Product Agency?
A digital product agency creates, designs, and develops websites, mobile applications, or other interactive digital products to meet the needs of their clients. Today's companies are requiring more than just a simple website that meets their expectations; they want much more. Users now expect to not only interact with your business online but also interact with it in real-time (on demand) where they are physically located. This means the scope of work for digital agencies has grown exponentially! The difference between a 'digital' agency and any other type of agency is that the design aspects are taken into consideration as well as technical aspects so that each digital product has a great user experience or UX whether it be on a computer or smartphone device.
Businesses have realized that being able to provide online services on-demand is a great way to gain market share and gain more loyal customers. It's also an effective way to decrease operating expenses by eliminating some of their brick and mortar facilities and increase revenue through online sales and increased customer data which allows the business to develop even more detailed profiles on individual users. Successful digital product agencies can help companies achieve all of these things with one easy solution: interactive digital products.
From Research to Realization.
A digital product agency's process for designing and developing a website or an app can take anywhere between three to six months and, depending on how many team members they are, and the complexity of the mobile application, it can take upwards of a year. The first step of the process is to conduct market research, determine casual and business goals, identify target audiences, define personas, and gather competitor information. This stage also includes creating wireframes (an example of which can be seen below) that show designers how each page will look like once it has been turned into a functioning website with a proper user interface. Although this sounds simple enough, even small changes in design can lead to major alterations during development. Good communication is critical between all parties involved throughout the whole process because jumpy clients may jump ship if they see that their original vision is not being met.
The next step involves editing the wireframes so that they look exactly like the design described in them. This is done with a variety of different tools which are best suited for the job. Once editing has been completed, visual designers layout all of the pages in accordance with the wireframes and add final touches such as choosing colors, fonts, arranging images/text, designing overall page layouts, etc. Although this step may seem simple enough, it often requires multiple iterations between both parties before everyone is satisfied with the end result.
Once final images have been approved by all those involved, it is developments job to turn them into functioning web pages. This stage can take anywhere from one to six months depending on the scope of the project, the number of people working on it, and other factors that affect productivity. Once development has completed their share of the task, QA (Quality Assurance) tests every single page of the digital product by running various automated checks as well as manually user testing each feature themselves. If any issues are discovered at this stage they must be reported back to development so they can fix them before sending them out for approval by all parties involved once again. If no issues are found then final approval can be given and the deployment phase begins.
Deployment usually takes between two days up to two weeks depending on how many custom code changes were implemented throughout the process. Once everything is deployed, all parties can host their respective copies of the digital product and begin marketing it with ad campaigns, blog posts, social media posts, etc.
This may seem like a lot of work but remember that this process can take up to six months depending on what type of digital product is being designed or developed; web apps often require additional development since they're not as simple as websites (e.g., native mobile apps vs HTML5 mobile apps) which takes more time because there are multiple channels through which users access digital products so each one must be compatible with every platform/device available. This means that building one type of app for Android devices won't cut it because iOS users expect different features from their apps that may not be available on Android. This is why it's important to determine which platform your target audience is most active in before diving into development.
The Digital Product Development Agency Methodology
A digital product agency often specializes in one specific type of work, such as design process, development, product strategy, or product launch, but may also specialize in a specific industry, such as education or healthcare. But it's all about creating digital experiences and bringing an idea to life.
A design agency uses creativity and imagination to make a digital product look nice and function well from a user perspective. Designers typically work with flat mockups of screens that have developed from wireframes. When the designers are happy with the digital products, developers take over to create them into actual web pages or apps that can be used by your target audience.
Software programs are developed through steps called Agile-Scrum methodology, which was originally conceived for software development process to reduce the time between iterations while still maintaining overall direction. This means that there is no one big release day when everything is published, instead, it's a constant flow of minor updates so the digital product is never 'finished' and the developer gets constant feedback on how it's working for end-users.
Development agencies develop new digital products from scratch. They will generally develop the digital product with a specific platform in mind such as iOS or Android, macOS, Windows, or another popular software package or website framework. It's also common to see websites built with languages such as PHP, Django, Ruby on Rails, etc. In some cases, development is done completely in-house by the agency while other times they'll outsource parts of the project when they need extra help from an outside company.
Marketing agencies often handle a lot of SEO work in addition to writing copy for clients' landing pages and blog posts or helping sell consumer digital products. Some marketing agencies specialize in social media work as well.
Every day new and more specialized agencies arise. Some focus on branding, some on product management, or digital strategy, others just focus on product ideas or strictly the digital product design. There are even some companies who are there just to better the user experience design (UI/UX) and some that just do market research. The fact is that new niches pop up in today's ever-evolving world, and in order to fill those gaps, new and more specialized agencies need to exist.
Agency vs In-House Development
An important thing to consider when deciding whether or not hiring a digital product agency is right for you is whether the development team works inside your company building its own digital products for the company to use internally which means having product designers and product teams, or whether you want to work with an external agency.
Always the Pros and Cons
There are several pros and cons of each approach. If you work with an agency, your internal team will interact closely with their internal teams on a regular basis. You'll also get several different voices giving input on how your idea should be executed. The downside is that this requires more budget because the agency needs some runway time (e.g., at least 1 week) to get up and running before starting any substantial amount of work on your project. This is true even if they're familiar with your brand's style guide.
One way around it is to keep in-house design and development while using an agency for marketing efforts like SEO/PPC copywriting and social media. You can even outsource to a development company or some work to a different agency than the one you're using for marketing, although many companies choose to use the same agency for both these tasks since it's easier to manage projects that way. Since agencies tend to be larger and have more experience working with multiple kinds of brands, they usually build better websites from scratch. External teams may take longer before launching a live site because they need approval from their client on every aspect of the concept before proceeding. This includes your general brand guidelines, color scheme, logo files (if applicable), etc. If you want a certain look or feel for your website but don't have any reference sites that fit what you're going for, you'll end up having to do research and waste time.
The fact is, getting a whole product design team, developers, experienced leaders, and every other aspect of developing digital products will take knowledge, time, and money. and if you only have one of those three, then you know where you have to compromise and will know which is the right option for you. I generally recommend outsourcing if you can budget it, since it frees you from the worries of development, and lets you concentrate on other aspects of your business.
The bottom line whether you are looking for mobile development, graphic design, help with a product idea, or just looking for a digital transformation, you want a digital product agency that will deliver in a timely manner and will be reliable enough to bring products to life, craft the solutions you are looking for and be with you throughout your product life cycle. The key here is to find a partner who will elevate your business and grow with you.
We create experiences that bring digital products to life.
We're a digital product agency that designs and develops websites, apps, software programs, and other interactive digital products. We transform companies. We're entrepreneurs at heart who love what we do and want to show people how they can make magic happen on the screen with the help of our creative minds. We work for a wide range of businesses from marketing agencies, e-commerce companies, enterprise-level corporations, educational institutions to individuals with a passion for bringing their ideas to life.