What is product design?
Product design describes the process of product development until the goods are ready for the end user. This includes:
- Presentation of what the product should look like
- Designing drafts
- Testing the product
- Iterate to correct any defects
- Refine until a finished product is created
Product design and development company Fireart thus apply a mixture of research, strategy, industry knowledge and creative thinking. The success of the product depends on how well it meets the needs of users. Profitability for the company is influenced by business restrictions, such as the available budget and the time required for development.
What does a typical process look like in product design?
The steps in product development vary for each company – depending on what type of product they develop. Nevertheless, these six general steps for product design can be defined:
The first phase of product design is to understand the end users and business goals exactly. It is important to create a design briefing. This includes:
- the problem that the product is supposed to solve or the demand it should meet.
- the context in which the problem or need occurs.
- the requirements that the product must meet in order to represent an effective solution.
For this, it is necessary to be able to put yourself in the shoes of the users. Understanding consumers forms the basis for successful product design. There are various means that help to uncover the wishes and needs of users:
- Diary studies
- Secondary market research
Furthermore, in the first step, it is necessary to deal in detail with the business requirements and goals for the product. This includes considerations about the price of the item, taking into account the ROI.
The ideation phase is about creative thinking. Product designers develop as many potential solutions as possible through various methods such as brainstorming. It is advisable to include all ideas in the list of options without evaluation or bias.
Nevertheless, it is not just about developing every conceivable idea. The brainstorming in product design is based on the findings from the research phase. These guide the process and limit the possible solutions.
Refine and validate
After brainstorming, it is important to refine the options and create suitable product concepts. These must be thoroughly checked against the user profile to ensure that they are viable for further development. At the same time, they must meet business requirements. These include considerations:
- to the aesthetics of design, does it fit the brand?
- on possible overlaps or integrations with existing product lines.
- for the feasibility of ideas within a fixed budget.
In this phase of product design, it is also time to expand the circle beyond the previous team, involve stakeholders from other areas of the company and hire ui developers. They evaluate the concepts based on their specific expertise.
Concept tests are also a key component of the refinement and validation phase. A concept test tool can help to collect feedback on various aspects of the idea – from the functions to the product name to the planned presentation for users. Max diff and conjoint analyses are particularly suitable to define the right mix of features for the product concept.
Prototype and test
The ideas that make it into the next phase of product design are now processed into a prototype and further tested. If concepts are implemented into reality, many new considerations and challenges sometimes arise. Therefore, there are often considerable necessary adjustments here.
If it is a physical product, tests with attributes that cannot yet be checked in the concept phase, such as the texture or weight of the article. Therefore, extensive product feedback is worthwhile here again.
Each prototype test leads to new insights that help to improve the product. In the iteration phases between each test, product designers make the optimizations. How many iterations they go through and how fast the entire process runs depends on several parameters:
- Size of the team
- Scope of tests
- Type of tests
- Budget that is available
Once the product has reached a viable condition, it is ready for the market. However, this does not mean that research, tests and iterations from product design come to a standstill. These processes continue to run in the background. This is the only way to maintain the quality and performance of the product over a long period of time.