We expect things to happen fast, nowadays. Websites, mobile apps, downloads, Amazon deliveries … we all want them as quickly and effortlessly as possible and when they lag, we get impatient.
As a digital product developer, you probably know that those expectations also extend to your products. Your users are expecting updates and new functions as quickly as you can roll them out, adding to the stress you already feel from the multitude of projects already on your plate.
So, anything to speed up your product development process is a worthwhile investment.
It may sound unorthodox, but AI, particularly the AI art generator Midjourney AI, might just be an integral part of accelerating your product development lifecycle.
With its cutting-edge technology and powerful image-generating capabilities, Midjourney is capable of revolutionizing the way the digital product development process is approached. Let’s see how you can harness the power of AI to help you develop products and speed up the time between conception and final result.
Midjourney, You Say?
Midjourney is an AI program and service developed and hosted by San Francisco-based independent research lab, Midjourney Inc.
Since July of 2022, folks from all over have been using Midjourney to generate stunning and high-quality, even life-like, images.
Like other AI image generators, Midjourney works by generating images from prompts the user types out in the message input field. The AI bot then runs the prompt through its natural language detectors to "understand" what you’re asking and then, using its vast dataset of images, learning patterns, styles, and features from various art genres and styles, it generates an entirely new image based on your ask.
Signing up for Midjourney is a bit more of a process than actually using it. To help you get started more quickly, here are the steps you need to take.
- Sign up for a Discord account (if you’re not already familiar with it, Discord is a popular messaging platform).
- Visit the Midjourney website and click Join the Beta. This opens up an invite to join the Midjourney Discord channel.
- Click on Accept Invite and you’re in.
Once you’re in, you can get some guidance with using the Midjourney bot by joining the “newbie channel”, where you’ll be joined by other users who can help you learn.
There’s even a useful command list to get you going a little easier. Please note that Midjourney can only be accessed through Discord, so when you’re ready to start, jump into the channel and start prompting away!
While Midjourney used to offer free trials, now you have to subscribe to a plan to start using it. The basic plan starts out at only $8 a month, but if you’re curious, you can check out the subscription prices here.
AI Tools to Accelerate Your Product Development Process
Now that you’ve got a grasp on Midjourney and its capabilities, here are some ways that you can start using this powerful AI tool (and others) to speed up your product development and get to market faster.
Research is a Breeze
As you may already know, before you can build a product, there is some research that must be done first to determine who your target audience is, what their needs are, and some insight into the market landscape.
AI tools like ChatGPT, Google Bard, and other search engine tools can be used to speed up the research process into your product’s domains, relationships between different elements or variables involved, and expected outcomes or results.
Just like Midjourney, both ChatGPT and Google Bard utilize natural language processing to “understand” your question and generate the answers you need, which can save you a great deal of time Googling and scouring the internet for the answers you’re looking for.
One thing to note, however, is that while ChatGPT has access to all data on the internet, its access only goes up to 2021. So, if you’re looking for information past that, ChatGPT won’t be able to help you much.
Bard, on the other hand, continually draws information from the internet so it would be better equipped to answer any questions that require more recent information.
Building the Right Foundation
Setting yourself up for success is the first stage of digital product development.
You can use Midjourney to better facilitate better storytelling, to make UX research more effective, to map out user journeys, and create fast, yet accurate, storyboards for your product that fit your Agile methodologies.
This will give you a good starting point for things like SaaS app navigation, team alignments, and even hi-fi design prototypes.
You can even use Midjourney prompts to generate lifelike personas so your UX researchers can generate more compelling analyses. It’s an excellent way to keep your information organized and give your developers a launching pad to start from.
Be sure you are being detailed with your Midjourney prompts and checking the results to make sure they are accurate and feasible.
Midjourney can also be an excellent tool to help you decide what you want your final product to look like.
What do you want your homepage design to look like? What version of your logo is going to be used for your app icon?
If you aren’t sure where you want to start, Midjourney is a great way to see some initial examples in this early development stage. Just describe your prompt as best you can and, if you need to, upload an image of your logo or color palette to give Midjourney a starting point to go from, and watch the AI work.
You can use it to help make decisions on the style and color palette that works best, the typography, and any other elements that could improve the user experience and user interface of your product.
Experiment with different prompts and once you have the lo-fi wireframes that you want, pass them off to your UI design team to bring them to life!
Once your UI team has created high-fidelity designs, you can hop back into Discord and use Midjourney as a quick tool to create some variations for testing.
Separate out individual UI elements from your wireframes, upload them, and then use Midjourney to ideate on them further. It’s always a good idea to give you and your team some options to make sure that you go with the design that will most enhance the user experience.
If Midjourney gives you something that you and your team really like, hand it off to your UI team for further revision or pass it back to the UX team to do further feature testing and research.
Keep testing until you have the final result you’re looking for!
Once you have it, have your team create a minimum viable product (MVP) and beta test it to a select few in order to gather some user feedback and know what issues need to be resolved before it goes to market.
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The Importance of a UI Team
Of course, if you don’t have a UI team of experts behind you, it’s difficult to get any quality assurance or know that you’re creating a product that will have any kind of long-term success.
While AI tools like Midjourney can accelerate the ideation, research, and development stages of your product, you still need a team of experts behind you to take you from Midjourney-generated website images to a complete and functional final product.
AI tools are great, but they’ll never match the strategy, ideas, and creativity that your human team can bring to the table. Embracing the new while not getting lazy in the process is the new way forward!
This is where Designity can make all the difference in your process!
At Designity, the expertise and design experience of your assigned Creative Director, backed up by a pool of talented designers and developers can give you results that you just can’t replicate on your own, even using a powerful AI art generator like Midjourney.
Our Creative Directors are ready and willing to use AI and whatever cutting-edge tools they have at their disposal to take your product from the ideation phase to your customer’s hands, helping and guiding you every step of the process.
Hop into the comments and let us know how you use AI in your product development process!