min read

Digital Product Design Secrets from Linkup Studio’s CDO

Digital Product Design Secrets from Linkup Studio’s CDO
Nataliya Sambir
Nataliya Sambir
Chief Design Officer

In this article, we will present the thoughts and ideas of the Chief Design Officer at Linkup Studio, Nataliya Sambir. As a professional with over 11 years of experience in the industry, our CDO shares a deep understanding of what digital product design truly is. The article covers diverse topics, including the explanation of differences between digital product design and traditional product design.

She also explores the main principles that drive effective digital product design. Those principles are hands-on guidelines that we have discovered through real-world experience. Nataliya also shares information about the role of a digital product designer. It highlights the skills and responsibilities that need to be in the design team you aim to collaborate with. Additionally, the article presents the top tools that digital product designers may use and which are helpful for creating cutting-edge designs.

Nataliya discusses measuring the success of a digital product design. She lays out some practical methods for evaluating its impact and effectiveness. 

Nataliya Sambir worked with 150 products across 25 countries. As the chief designer at Linkup Studio, she has led her team in designing digital products for companies like Bosch, Porsche, Impactive, and many other market changers. Under Nataliya's leadership, our design team won the Red Dot Design Award in 2022 and 2023. Also, one of our digital product designs was even selected as the App of The Day in the App Store. 

Now, let's dive into the details!

Elevate Your Online Experience with Professional Digital Design

Let's talk white arrow

What is Digital Product Design?

The definition of digital product design includes creating stuff that solves real customer problems or fills the gap people need. Before collaborating with designers, managers, or developers - make sure they understand who they're designing for. They should get what everyday life is like for these people, what annoys them, and what they're hoping the product will do. The test of whether the product design is good is when people do use some app or platform because it makes their life easier, and they don't even need to think about it because it just makes their life easier.

Digital product design is not about making something that looks fancy. We've seen lots of companies try to skip the thorough discovery stage and just make something. Most of the time that doesn't work out. Even if that "something" looks good, it usually fails because it doesn't match up with what people demand. 

Another point is that, by definition, design isn't something you do once and forget. After the launch, product stakeholders and, ideally, designers need to track its performance regularly, add new features, fix issues, and keep updating it.

Are Digital Product Design and Product Design the Same Thing?

Digital product design and general product design are definitely related but still apply to different areas. Try to think of product design as the big picture – it's about creating things, which could be anything from a coffee cup to a motorcar. Product design involves thinking about what people need, what materials to use, how to construct the product so it works well, and how it actually looks. We partially discussed that in our "Building Digital Products." YouTube video interview with Don Norman. 

Digital product design is more about making things for digital products, like mobile or web apps, websites, digital platforms, and software. The focus here is the same as it was for the general product design - to make customers' lives better. However, accents are different, as designers need to consider how this digital interface will look on the device screen, how it is easy to use, and more. 

So, what's the real difference between the two? It's mainly about what and how designers are creating:

Where it Lives

Digital product design is more applied to screens – phones, tablets, laptops, and computers. Regular product design can be anything in the physical world.

User Experience

Both care about how easy and pleasant it is to use the product, but the digital design has to think about how we interact with screens, while regular product design is more about how we physically use something.

Materials and Making

In regular product design, you think a lot about materials (like plastic or metal) and how to actually make the thing. With digital design, it's more about software.

Tools They Use

Digital designers use specific tools to create what you see on a screen, which I will discuss a bit later. Regular product designers might use different kinds of software to help them design and test physical objects.

Testing and Tweaking

With digital products, you can make changes and update things pretty fast. For physical products, it takes more time because you might need to make a new prototype each time, and changing the production line is harder compared to digital changes.

TOP 6 Principles of Effective Digital Product Design

I explained all these principles in detail in this article

Principle 1: Clear Goals

Before starting the project, our team first discovers what your customers need and what your business aims to achieve. Unfortunately, I see many companies that have a vague idea of their goals. At Linkup Studio, we work with clients to first pinpoint these objectives before diving into the design or development stages.

Your goals can be broad or specific, but everyone needs to be clear about them from the start. We usually chat with key business people and organize workshops to make sure we're all on the same page.

Revolutionize Your Digital Interfaces — Connect with Us!

Let's talk black arrow

Principle 2: User-Centric Design

The heart of product design is a deep and thorough understanding of users, their lives, habits, routines, expectations, desires, and pains. At Linkup Studio, our designers and product managers concentrate on learning about users and then creating stunning designs to meet customers' needs. 

When collaborating with design teams, make sure they know your customers well and strive to do their jobs well. They should comprehend your customers' needs, why they choose your product, what problems your product solves, and how customers fulfill their needs. 

At Linkup Studio, we use focus groups, interviews, and feedback to ensure that our designs truly improve users' lives.

Principle 3: Simplify User Interaction

What we do believe at Linkup Studio is that things should be as simple as possible for the user. In digital product design, it's about asking whether the interface is easy enough for users to achieve their goals without hassle.

Principle 4: Value Over Features

Some of our clients think that the number of features increases the quality and value of the digital solution. Consequently, there is a tendency to focus too much on adding features. Sometimes, it is definitely not bad to have multiple features, but that is not always the case. Our team always checks whether a new feature really makes a difference for the user and is of such value that the person may take to using the solution. Therefore, we suggest testing ideas with customers first. 

Principle 5: Data-Driven Decisions

I personally believe that for success, business owners or stakeholders should balance data insights with their intuition or gut feeling about potential success. Real data guides the stages of digital product design and further development. It also helps prevent resource waste. It's essential to consider both hard metrics and user feedback in this process.

Observing how users interact with a product can reveal more than what they say in feedback. This data, combined with industry experience, can generate ideas and hypotheses for further testing, potentially leading to breakthrough propositions.

At Linkup Studio, we work closely with our clients to form hypotheses. These are based on comprehensive data and user interactions observed in their product statistics.

Principle 6: Consistency is Key

Consistency and a clear hierarchy in design help users engage with your product. It's important for users to find navigation intuitive and familiar. At Linkup Studio, we focus on maintaining design consistency across all elements.

These principles guide our approach and help us create designs that are not only visually appealing but also deeply connected with user needs and business goals.

Digital Product Designer: Role, Skills & Responsibilities

Digital product designer ensures that the digital products your customers use daily, such as software, websites, and apps, look good and are easy to use. Their main goal is not only to create something pretty or overly innovative. In fact, their task is more about making sure that when your business customers tap, swipe, or click everything, it feels just right, and users get the expected and needed service or experience. 

Their Role

Digital product designers have numerous occupations. First of all, they need to collaborate closely with product managers and your company stakeholders to get to know the business basics. Then, they need to learn the users, market, competitors, and many other things that we outlined above. 

Then, they create a digital product, be it a mobile application or a comprehensive internal management system. 

At Linkup Studio, product designers also act as a bridge between the technical side (like developers) and the business side (like marketing and management) to ensure that the final product meets the needs of both the business and the users.

Skills Needed for Digital Product Designers

User Experience Design

They need to understand how users interact with the product. It's like being a detective, figuring out what makes users happy when they use the app or website.

User Interface Design

They decide how everything on the screen will look - from the colors and fonts to button placement and how intuitively users will comprehend the system and interact with it.

Create Impactful Digital Products — Start with Our Expert Designers!

Let's talk white arrow

Prototyping and Wireframing

Think of this as making a rough sketch of a product before it's built. It's a way to try out ideas quickly.


They need to study what users need and want as well as understand the market and existing competitors.


They're like the troubleshooters who fix issues, ensuring the product is both practical and visually appealing.

Tech Skills

They should be handy with design tools and have a basic grasp of development to create a design that would not complicate the process of further development without substantial reasons.

Teamwork and Communication

This is a crucial aspect, as designers need to get on well with other team members, from engineers to marketers, and explain their design visions clearly.

Basics of Business Analysis

It's crucial for designers to understand the essence of business analysis. This knowledge enables them to align with the goals and requirements of product owners and stakeholders effectively.

Marketing Skills

Designing a digital product involves more than just crafting features. It requires a strategic approach to attracting users and encouraging them to navigate between different parts of the system. 

Knowledge of Psychology

Effective designers must comprehend how various design patterns affect users' emotions. Engaging and convenient design is a combination of attractive aesthetics with convenient user flows. At Linkup Studio, our team enhances their skills through a basic psychology course for designers.

What They're Responsible For

Getting to Know Users & Market 

Designers investigate the field before all subsequent work, which includes analyzing market trends and competitors to identify unique opportunities and product enhancements. This stage also includes conducting deep interviews and questionnaires along with behavior analysis to understand the needs and desires of the target audience.

Designing the Product

Designers are in charge of how a product looks and how intuitive it is to use. This stage includes defining the main functionality of the product, creating structure and interactions, designing various diagrams, concepts, and prototypes, and analyzing their correspondence with the set business goals and customer needs.

Testing and Refining

Designers make prototypes in order to test hypotheses and product ideas, then get feedback and change their designs accordingly.

Collaborating with Other Departments

They work with team members who build the product to confirm that the design is feasible and works well in customers' lives. Good designers also closely collaborate with marketing and business analysis departments to create and implement various strategies and campaigns aimed at boosting the product's awareness and usage.

Ensuring Consistency

Digital product designers make sure that the product provides a consistent experience across all devices and platforms.

Keeping Up-to-Date

They're also responsible for ensuring that the product stays fresh and relevant for users.

TOP 10 Tools Digital Product Designers Must Use


Figma is like the Swiss Army knife of our design toolkit. It's incredibly adaptable for our UI/UX design purposes and allows us to create, prototype, and collaborate on designs in real time. For us, Figma stands out in terms of its collaborative capabilities. Our clients can jump right in, view our progress, and leave feedback directly on the designs or wireframes. This real-time interaction cuts down on long email threads and speeds up the approval. This tool is also very useful in creating design systems and further cooperation with development experts. Overall, it makes the design phase more efficient and client-friendly.

Optimize User Experience with Our Digital Product Design

Let's talk black arrow


FigJam has recently become our virtual brainstorming room. It helps us efficiently ideate and develop concepts for our design ideas. We use it to sketch out user journey maps, flowcharts, and early design ideas, including sketching right there with clients. It can be compared to a gathering around a whiteboard but in the digital space. This helps us ensure our and the client's visions are aligned right from the first meetings. We also use this tool as a space for diverse workshops.


Jitter offers our design team the power to effortlessly animate and prototype, bringing static designs to dynamic life. It streamlines collaboration and feedback, which is vital for crafting engaging user experiences. With Jitter, our designers quickly create animations that captivate audiences, elevating a product's appeal and enhancing its interactive storytelling. It's a vital tool for producing memorable and interactive designs.


Miro serves as our fundamental tool for creating and organizing diagrams and flows, significantly enhancing our collaborative design efforts. It's our digital workspace where we visually map out ideas, feedback, and strategies. During client workshops, Miro also becomes an interactive platform which enables the visualization of everyone's input, particularly in flowcharts and process diagrams. This method fosters a transparent and inclusive approach to design, both for our clients and our team.


Hotjar helps us to show how users actually interact with the product designs we create. We analyze heatmaps and user recordings and gain insights into user behaviors, preferences, and pain points. This user data helps us polish and refine our designs to ensure they are even more intuitive and effective. Based on our experience, it leads to higher user satisfaction for our clients' products.


UserTesting gives our team information about what people think about our products. At Linkup Studio, we use it to get direct feedback from the target audience and validate our designs and assumptions. It's about making sure that the products we design both look good and are enjoyable to use.


At Linkup Studio, ChatGPT has changed our approach to deep research in design. We use it for thorough analysis. It helps us ensure that every aspect of our designs is well-considered and informed. It's particularly valuable in scrutinizing the user interface elements like buttons and layouts in our clients' products. ChatGPT acts like an additional team member and offers insightful perspectives and detailed critiques. It ensures that our designs are not only aesthetically pleasing but also deeply rooted in research that resonates with product users.


Protopie empowers our design team with the ability to craft highly interactive prototypes without coding. It bridges the gap between design and reality, which enables precise simulations of user experiences. With Protopie, teams can validate concepts quickly and iterate designs efficiently. 


Maze is an essential tool for our product designers as it streamlines the validation of design decisions with immediate, actionable insights. Its seamless integration with major design tools and rapid, data-driven testing methods empower teams to iterate swiftly. Maze transforms user feedback into tangible design improvements and helps to ensure that products are not only user-friendly but also align perfectly with the target audience's needs and expectations.

Midjourney & Dall-E-3

Dall-E-3 and Midjourney are tools we use for different kinds of images. 

Dall-E-3 is great when we need something specific. We tell it what we want, and it creates it. For example, we used it to make a mascot for our Toto project, and it turned out just how we wanted. 

Midjourney is more about creating unique and interesting images. It's less about the specifics and more about getting something really original. We used this for our YachtWay project to get some cool yacht pictures without any brand on them.

How to Measure Success of a Digital Product Design?

Before starting the design process, it's crucial to define clear metrics that reflect the design's success. Understanding the key actions that users should be taking on your platform helps to set such metrics.

Instead of relying solely on personal opinions about the design's effectiveness, real customer testing is way more important. There are several methods for this: using eye and mouse tracking tools, analyzing heatmaps, conducting A/B tests, and employing various analytics tools. What's more, you can engage directly with users through feedback pop-ups, encouraging them to share their thoughts on the design.

In my experience, there have been many cases where signs pointed to a product struggling, but the people in charge, like founders or CEOs, still believed the design was good, simply because it suited their taste. This kind of mismatch can be damaging to the business.


In conclusion, Nataliya Sambir, our Chief Design Officer at Linkup Studio, delved into the nuances of digital product design in this article. She explored the main principles and the role of designers, as well as explained the importance of the wide range of tools from Figma to ChatGPT in creating user-centric and effective digital product designs.

If you're seeking expert guidance on digital product design, feel free to reach out for a free consultation with Nataliya. Let's create digital products that resonate with your audience and move your business forward.

Dive into Our Portfolio
Explore a selection of our finest projects delivered to our esteemed customers.
Сheck Out
Right arrow

Frequently Asked Questions

No items found.
Nataliya Sambir
Nataliya Sambir
Chief Design Officer
Dive into Our Portfolio
Explore a selection of our finest projects delivered to our esteemed customers.
Сheck Out
Right arrow

Craft your idea into awesome digital experience

Let’s talk
Right arrow

Most relevant articles