The First-Level Process of Product Design

4 min read • Martín Etchegoyen

The thoughtful, attractive design is especially necessary for such a highly competitive environment as a software market. In a successful product design timeline, the finished product will meet the business' specifications, help build the brand, bring in profits and solve the problems of the users, and provide aesthetic value wherever possible, all of which will contribute to the success of the product.

Of course, excellent product design requires a deep understanding of the user. The better the designers understand their audience, the more efficient and relevant the product design outcome will be.

Poor product design, on the other hand, generally falls into one of three categories. Either the product does not solve the problem efficiently, causes additional problems instead, or is too expensive or inaccessible. To avoid these pitfalls, those working in product design will need to study the habits, preferences, frustrations, and limitations of the end-user. While aesthetics do play a role in product design, they are less important than the above considerations.

Product Design 101

Today, finding an unoccupied business niche is close to impossible. For this reason, even fairly uncomplicated goods are created by teams of specialists with different fields of competence. The process of product design may involve a lot of professionals, such as graphic designers, UX designers, animators, marketing specialists, business analysts, and user behavior researchers, among others. It is a complex multi-step process at the junction of engineering, management, and graphics. Product design provides a comprehensive understanding of what the final product would look like, and feel like, and with what tools it will solve.

Product Design

Formally, product design can be divided into three elements, which are appearance, functionality, and quality. Of course, in order to create a successful, competitive product, you will need to carefully work out all these three points. YOu should have an attractive, modern appearance, a convenient function that allows users to cope with their pain points, and maximum availability, high performance, and security.

It is safe to say that design determines the value, in the context of solving some problems or achieving some goals, functionality, and usefulness of the product itself. In turn, from the point of view of the manufacturer, the product should be manufactured as quickly, cheaply, and accurately as possible. As practice shows, providing a balanced compromise between the goals of consumers and the manufacturer is not so easy, especially if you are just starting out.

6 Must-Dos on the Product Design Process

In this section, we will present some things that every designer should do in order to carry out an effective product design process.

Product Design

1. Brainstorming

The first step to designing a product is brainstorming. As a rule, two groups are created for its implementation. The first group includes people who generate ideas to solve the problem. The second group consists of a commission that deals with the processing of the proposed ideas.

Brainstorming consists of three phases. First of all, comes the definition of the problem. In particular, you must announce the problem and select participants for both teams. Then comes the idea generation. This stage involves the most creative approach. Participants of the brainstorming voice every idea they can imagine, however crazy it may sound. Here, quantity is important, not quality. Thus it is necessary to be guided by the following rules.

You must generate as many ideas as possible, without any limitations, and even the most absurd and non-standard ideas should be considered. Lastly, comes the selection of the most viable ideas among the proposed. In this step, appreciation and criticism are welcome. This stage is usually conducted by the commission team.

2. Conducting the User Research

Research implies several aspects, which are market research to define the presence of competitors, the definition of trends, the assessment of the product’s prospective longevity, etc. As a rule, this task is solved by marketers and business analysts. The results of this research provide grounds to build so-called customer portraits. As a consequence, these portraits would give your team a better understanding of what the final product should be. A properly-composed portrait includes such parameters as gender, age, marital status, income level, place of residence, employment, job position, typical problems, needs, desires, and more.

3. Prototyping

Creating a prototype is no less crucial task than developing a design itself. Note that the obtained result is not a beautiful final appearance, but rather a skeleton of the future product’s look. However, it allows for demonstrating the functionality, ways of user interaction with the product, and its basic appearance. The creation of the prototype allows for avoiding many errors and corrections in the future. This will help save time, money, and nerves, for both the customer and performers.

4. Compiling Specifications

The creation of a list of specifications is, in fact, the process of the above-mentioned requirement specification’s elaboration. It allows for reviewing all the requirements for the finished product and possible solutions in maximum detail. Plus, these specifications should contain the final delimitation of responsibilities, deadlines, and costs. These documents would be essential at the product development stage.

5. Sample Testing

Testing samples lets you timely identify the flaws of the product or inconsistencies with the requirements. That is before you even begin an expensive procedure of its implementation. Manufacturing and testing the samples can be iterated as much as needed until they correspond to all the requirements and gain enough positive feedback from customers.

6. Starting the Production/Development

When starting the manufacturing and development of the product, you will already have a full set of technical specifications with clearly defined requirements, tasks, responsibilities, deadlines, and budget. Your goal is to break the major tasks into smaller subtasks, so the deadline for their implementation does not exceed several weeks and assign priorities.

Conclusion

In order to perform well in product design, you need to follow these guidelines because doing these things will lead you inevitably to a better quality in your work as a designer.

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