Product design is the process through which designers combine customer demands with corporate goals in order to assist businesses create consistently successful products.
Product designers strive to improve the user experience in the solutions they create for their customers, as well as to support their brands by designing goods that are long-lasting for longer-term business demands.
“If you think good design is expensive, you should look at the cost of bad design.”
— Dr. Ralf Speth, CEO of Jaguar Land Rover
What is Product Design?
Product design is the process of developing goods that solve problems in a certain market. A successful product design supports a business while also taking into account the demands of the people. Digital tools, experience design, and physical objects are all examples of product design.
The design thinking theory serves as the foundation for Product Design. Design thinking was created as a user-centric approach to incorporating real-world user demands into technology and commercial requirements that arise as a result of addressing complicated challenges.
Product design is frequently influenced by the design thinking process. It consists of five processes that all lead back to resolving the user's issues:
Empathize : To design with a user in mind, product designers must first undertake research to understand who they are developing for.
Define : The designer will precisely identify the problem based on the demands and insights of the consumers.
Ideate : Product designers and their teams create a suitable solution for the problem you have specified by starting with a diverse range of potential creative alternatives.
Prototype : A prototype (or numerous prototypes) will be developed for testing using the answers from the ideation phase. Prototypes provide designers with physical evidence that they are on the right road, and they frequently reveal concepts that were previously unnoticed.
Test : Designers consult with users to ensure that their designs are functioning as intended. The designers use this knowledge to return to the ideation process and fine-tune their product until it is just perfect.
Understanding the end-user customer, or the person for whom the product is being designed, is critical to successful product design. Product designers use empathy and understanding of their potential clients' routines, behaviors, frustrations, requirements, and aspirations to solve real issues for real people.
In an ideal world, product design execution is so perfect that no one notices; customers can use the product naturally as needed since product design recognized their needs and anticipated their usage.
Also Read | 5 Stages of Product Life Cycle
Why is Product Design Important?
As technology evolves at a rapid pace, so does the value of outstanding product design. Creating a good digital output necessitates a complex process that goes beyond appearances. More specifically, it necessitates a solid understanding of business analysis, user research, psychology, and software development.
As a result of this understanding, designers will be able to construct a successful digital experience that matches consumers' expectations and wants when navigating through a product. In reality, this will also help the company's aims.
Users who have a favorable experience with a product are more inclined to promote it and even become champions for that product. Users in a digital environment demand goods that make their lives simpler by delivering quick and simple answers.
For example, while the idea behind an app may be the most original and brilliant, if the navigation and overall experience are unclear, sluggish, and difficult for the end-user to handle, the product will most likely fail. As a result, if the product design does not match the needs of the end-users, a wonderful concept will remain just that.
A product's design is crucial, but it is also sensitive to a firm. The creation of designs for the items is a lengthy procedure. Because it will influence whether a product succeeds or fails in the commercial world, as well as market share and the company's reputation. As a result, the product is affected by a number of elements.
Steps for Product Designing
When it comes to product development, there are various variables to consider before diving into software development. If you have a wonderful concept and have already obtained the funding to construct it, you need to ensure that your solution is in demand among your target audience. What's the purpose of bringing it to market if it's not going to sell?
This is where product design comes in to help you connect with your target customer and the solution you're creating. Listed below are some steps for designing a product :
Steps for Product Design
Brainstorming is the first phase in product design. In most cases, two groups are formed to carry it out. The first group consists of people who come up with solutions to the problem. The second group is made up of a "commission" that is in charge of processing the suggested proposals.
There are three stages to brainstorming:
- The problem is defined. : You must specifically advertise the challenge (in this example, the necessity to generate the "correct" product design) and choose members for both teams.
- Inventive thinking : This level necessitates the most inventive approach. Participants in the brainstorming session are encouraged to share any and all ideas they have, no matter how insane they may appear. Quantity, not quality, is key in this case.
- Choosing the most viable ideas from among those offered : Appreciation and criticism are both acceptable at this stage. The second team is normally in charge of this stage.
After brainstorming and selecting all feasible ideas for the future product, you must outline a set of general expectations (requirements) for its realization. As a rule, the result is a pretty abstract list, the aim of which is to establish the directions for future team activities rather than to produce an accurate guideline on the development.
Undergoing the User Research
Market research to establish the presence of rivals, trend definition, appraisal of the product's potential lifespan, and so on are all components of research. Marketers and business analysts are often in charge of this duty.
The findings of this study give a foundation for creating so-called client portraits. As a result, these portraits will provide your team with a better grasp of what the final product should look like.
Gender, age, marital status, income level, location of residence (geography), employment, work position, usual issues, wants, concerns, and desires, and so on are all included in a well-composed picture.
Also Read | Factors Influencing Consumer Behavior
The production of drawings will only aid any huge project with a substantial expenditure. Prior to devoting time to discovering answers, the scope of the search must be agreed upon with the customer.
Sketches enable you to focus down this precise direction when selecting the core concept, and only then deal with composition, layouts, edits, concept refining, and so on.
Modeling and Prototyping
Creating a prototype is an equally significant and critical undertaking as generating a concept. It should be noted that the end result is not a gorgeous final appearance, but rather a "skeleton" of the future product's appearance.
Nonetheless, it provides for the demonstration of functionality, user engagement with the product, and its basic aesthetic. The building of the prototype enables for the avoidance of many future errors and fixes. This will assist both the consumer and the performers save time, money, and nerves.
The process of creating a list of specifications is, in reality, the process of elaborating the previously described required specification. It enables a thorough examination of all requirements for the completed product and potential solutions.
Furthermore, these specifications should include a final delineation of duties, timeframes, and expenses. These documents would be critical during the product development process.
Manufacturing Factory Samples
Manufacturing pre-production samples can assist you learn whether the product's basic concept is practical and appealing to real consumers, or if it's worth shifting the activity vector to other critical elements.
In the event of a physical product, it also provides for a better knowledge of how much the various production departments/manufacturing contractors are prepared to create the designed items with the appropriate speed and quality.
In the case of software, such examples are known as MVP'S - a type of wireframe program that covers the most important features.
Also Read | Steps in Product Management Process
Testing of Samples
Testing samples helps you to spot defects in the product or conflicts with the specifications in real time. That is before you even start a costly (in most cases) method for implementing it.
Manufacturing and testing the samples can be repeated as many times as necessary until they meet all of the standards and receive enough favorable feedback from consumers.
You will already have a complete set of technical specifications with well defined needs, tasks, responsibilities, timelines, and budget when you begin manufacturing/developing the product.
Your aim is to divide the big activities into smaller subtasks (such that the implementation date does not exceed several weeks) and give priority. Approaches of Agile, such as Scrum or Kanban, are used in the software business today to accomplish this.
Providing Quality Assurance
Quality assurance efforts, in reality, include all stages of product development, including release and ongoing maintenance. Nonetheless, their primary tasks were to ensure the end product's quality.
In the case of app development, the QA team is in charge of pre-release testing to assure the quality of the published solution, its compliance with the requirements specification, and the target audience's expectations (they are determined at the stage of forming the customer portraits).
Also Read | Types of Agile Methodologies
Factors Affecting Product Design
Some of the major factors affecting product design are :
Requirements of the Customer
Meeting and satisfying client expectations is one of the most crucial factors. Because the end-users are the ones who utilize the product, it is the designer's responsibility to get the client's needs before developing the prototype and conceiving the ideology.
To accommodate all conceivable differences and situations, the created product must be streamlined in such a manner that it attracts and convinces the intended audience. Furthermore, the designer should be able to eliminate the usage of high-end technology if they cause a bad sense or opposing emotions in the customer.
Meeting the purpose for which the product is developed results in high levels of client satisfaction. The created product should be functionally commanding and achieve the final aim completely.
Functionality is one such element that influences product design, and it is once again the designers' obligation to preserve the coordination between the aesthetic and how it needs to operate.
A product designer must strike a balance between high aesthetic appeal and cost-effectiveness. As a result, cost ranks second on the list of factors influencing product design. The designer's name is all over the place since he or she was able to obtain all of the necessary necessities inside the specified budget.
This is a significant amount of pressure that a designer feels before creating a creative outlet. As a result, pricing remains a legitimate aspect in assessing good quality in a wonderful functional product.
Before creating a product, it is critical to have a thorough understanding of the material. The designer must be kept up to date and well-renewed with all of the new materials and technology on the market.
The quality of the materials used in the production of a product has a significant influence on the design aspect. The designer must be informed of the availability of new and better materials in order to wow the audience and develop the desired product.
In addition to good product design, product protection is critical, and this should take the form of environment-specific protection. If your product is going to be utilized in an industrial setting, it must adhere to the IP (Ingress Protection) standard, which is intended to prevent products from falling due to water and dust.
As a result, power tools must be dust and particle resistant, and some may even need to be water resistant. Furthermore, if the items are intended to be used outside for an extended period of time, they should be tightly sealed and have a high-quality finish to avoid deterioration. This is also one of the most essential variables influencing product design and determining its endurance.
Also Read | Data Analysis in Product Development
In the end, Product design has a far larger and more strategic function than most people believe. It is not just the process of improving the appearance of a product.
According to Eric Eriksson, "product design is the entire process," which includes evaluating problem validation as well as developing, designing, testing, and releasing the solution.