Product design is the culmination of numerous components such as questioning, identifying challenges, providing solutions, common sense thinking, and research. These products not only include tangible products, but also digital interfaces, websites, and other online tools. To create a specific product, users need to question and communicate with present customers to solve their difficulties. This will assure that companies design items that are both innovative and functional. When it comes to building products, features are important. To get to this phase, individuals must first understand the design development process. Simply envisioning a product is one thing but ensuring that the product enters the real world and produces the desired results is a critical component of product design.

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Graphic Illustration_©Story set_ https://www.freepik.com/author/stories

Organizations must constantly enhance their products and services to survive in the competitive market. Products frequently become irrelevant in today’s fast-paced world of a technologically driven economy. What works today may become obsolete tomorrow. Here are 10 tips on how to have better product designs. 

1. User-centric ideas: 

When we develop a new product, we must always consider who will use it and how they will use it. There is practically no hope of designing a product that people will enjoy without this knowledge. Frank Chimero famously stated, “People ignore design that overlooks people.” And this quote wonderfully captures the significance of user-centered design. The goal of user-centered design is to obtain a thorough understanding of who will use the product. 

The user-centric approach while designing a certain product plays a pivotal role in delivering the module with the desired results. This process needs to be included when brainstorming for conceptualization happens. Designers must implement this investigative method which involves the individuals and user groups who will utilize it. User-centric product design consists of four primary stages, two of which must be completed parallelly. Analysis, conception, design, assessment, and optimization are among them. Furthermore, these steps not only offer feedback to designers but also help in achieving desirable results which enhance the product’s accessibility and efficiency.

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The flowchart depicting how the cycle of user centred design approach works_ https://blog.ionixxtech.com/why-it-is-necessary-to-adopt-the-user-centric-design-method-for-a-design-process/

2. Research and Ideation: 

While starting any design, the brainstorming of ideas and establishment of goals is a significant step. Design thinking is a way for solving practical challenges. During the ideation phase, one will explore and generate as many concepts as possible. Some of these ideas will become potential answers to your design challenge, others will be dismissed. It is critical to understand that Design Thinking is not a linear process. Product research (which naturally includes user and market research) provides the other half of the groundwork for a great design once the product vision has been established. Multiple methodologies like user interviews, questionnaires online surveys, inquiries, competitive research, and user analysis could be conducted across various platforms. Keep in mind that time spent studying is never wasted.

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Process of research and ideation_© Shilpi Kumar_ https://shilpikumar.medium.com/innovation-is-not-ideation-its-a-process-that-enables-ideas-to-flow-towards-impact-d3c661d04ba5

3. Function over facet:

Furniture Designer Charles Eames once said, “Design is an expression of the purpose, and it may (if it is good enough) later be judged as art; design depends largely on constraints, and it is a method of action”. Let’s face it: in today’s world, the focus is on aesthetics and exclusivity. However, this element ignores the factor of a product’s functionality. When people buy a product, they expect it to be fully functional as well as attractive. It must serve a purpose, otherwise, it will become just another product on the shelf that no one buys because it is overpriced and simply appealing. The functionality, preferences, goals, conflicts, and targets essential for a human-centric product are meticulously curated and classified by designers.

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Example of table for a functional design over the form_ © Dan Devine_ https://www.behance.net/gallery/72132089/Ascend-Desk

4. Longevity: 

Design for longevity aims to produce solutions with an optimal lifetime, where ideal means considering the user, business, and resource efficiency viewpoints while designing a product’s life. The four stages of a product’s life are- Release, growth, maturity, and deterioration. When it is confirmed that a product is practical and potentially profitable, it can be manufactured, promoted, and distributed to the market. It is usually observed that the majority of the innovators have most to lose at the introductory stage of the product life cycle and undergo loss of profits. Managing the four stages of the life cycle can enable boost profitability and maximize the return but failing to do so can result in a product not fulfilling its potential and having a shorter shelf life.

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Diagram charting the product life cycle_©https://www.twi-global.com/technical-knowledge/faqs/what-is-a-product-life-cycle

5. God lies in the details:

This quote stated by the famous American-German Architect Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe in the 1900s remains relevant in the design faculty. The details must be finer, experience, and patterns for a user-product interaction, not just the surface elements. It’s not simply about shades, texture, structure, and branding, but it also involves visual, tactile, and emotional factors. On a broader level, those minor, undetected characteristics may provide your product an edge over its hastily considered competitors. The best designs often have stability, and a steady hand on the wheel throughout. Due to a diverse user base, it is tough to include details while creating a product. This is a difficult and costly procedure, but as the saying goes, the faulty design will cost you more.

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Detailed sketches for a watch interface design_© Ilya Avakov_ https://www.behance.net/gallery/39790031/Industrial-design-sketches/modules/312571517

Quality over quantity:

The concept of quality over quantity is simply the goal to maximize the value of a small number of anything, whether physical or intangible, over having a high quantity or volume of poor quality of the same criteria. Quality is comparative because different people place different values on different things. To determine what qualifies as quality, you must first go within and discover what makes you happy. Quantity is solely relevant when the product is of high grade. Quality matters when it has a wow factor that results in client satisfaction. When it comes to product quality, is mostly determined by three factors: cost, time, and scope. To create a fantastic product, one cannot compromise on any of these factors. For managing all the elements, it is necessary to plan out and strategize in the initial levels till the execution. Clear and coherent thought exchange and feedback are absolute for problem-solving after the first phase. Appropriate techniques and technology to enhance the quality could be implemented.

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Graphic Illustration_ ©Anjali Som_ https://anjalisom.artstation.com/projects/L2eBgA

Ergonomics:

The first rule of Usability? Don’t listen to users, rather observe what they work on. Ergonomics comes into play here. It is a scientific and academic field that studies the relationship between employees and their environments. Ergonomic design personalizes a product to specific user requirements. As you may expect, this design approach is extremely beneficial for tangible things like tools, office equipment, and furniture. The end users are a crucial part of this process. Without this base, one cannot go ahead further. When evaluating the ergonomics of a particular product, various variables such as safety, convenience, comfort, ease of use, and enjoyment are essential parts of it. Other analyses include age groupings, skill, speed, sensory abilities, genders, geography, and employment.

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Ergonomics of personal hygiene products_©https://www.sparkinnovations.com/product-design/

Prototype Testing – Design is how it works! 

A designer is tirelessly working on the current product design- it looks amazing! But, before you confidently pass it over to the engineering and marketing team, you need to make sure to seek some feedback and test your prototype with users. Testing your prototype allows you to tweak the design before launching it, which benefits the delivery of a successful product. Before you develop your prototype and begin testing, you should know exactly what you want to validate. While minimal prototypes help evaluate concepts, strong prototypes are ideal for assessing usability and detecting difficulties in the workflow. When the prototype is completed, it is time to demonstrate it to your users. Attempt to recruit volunteers who are representative of your target audience when running the test.

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Graph depicting how prototype testing and progress go hand in hand_©https://www.strategyzer.com/blog/posts/2017/2/16/prototype-learn-iterate

Visual Relevance:

In basic terms, aesthetics brings us joy. They evoke sensations of happiness and serenity on an emotional level. They connect us to our ability to reflect on and appreciate our surroundings, which offers us a sense of contentment and hope. Even while the product should be as functional and uncomplicated, it should also be able to sparkle with aesthetic power, as people desire solutions that do marvels while also not being aesthetically unappealing and distorted. The feel and visuals of a specific product can nonetheless attract customers, captivating them with quality and classic style, still in conjunction with the noted requirement for targeted performance. Relevancy is not about how a certain audience is influenced; rather, it is about one’s identity and expression of thoughts at the moment.

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Aesthetics Matter_© https://www.relauncher.com.au/blog/why-aesthetics-matters-in-product-design

Tackle challenges with pragmatic solutions:

One of the most important elements of product development is problem resolution. It is impossible to innovate and design a specific module until you understand the user’s problems and challenges. Problem-solving is essential not just during the product’s development, but also after it is utilized. If the product requires a remodel, an upgrade, or other rebuild alternatives. A rational approach to fixing it should be undertaken. If the problem you choose does not exist, or if the solution you provide does not properly solve the issue your products will be of no use to consumers. Products that are no longer in use are eliminated.

Graphic Illustration_©https://www.forbesindia.com/article/harvard-business-school/how-entrepreneurs-can-find-the-right-problem-to-solve/68647/1

Citations: 

Online sources: 

  1. edX. (n.d.). Product Design, Prototyping, and Testing. [online] Available at: https://www.edx.org/course/product-design-prototyping-testing [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
  2. ‌BOLTGROUP. (2017). Role of Aesthetics in Product Design | Product Development. [online] Available at: https://boltgroup.com/aesthetics-in-product-design/.
  3. ‌ALTA Digital. (n.d.). 11 Helpful Tips for Innovative Product Designers. [online] Available at: https://altadigital.com/blog/product-design-tips [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
  4. ‌Bektas, A. (2020). 7 Product Design Tips to Make Users Fall in Love. [online] UserGuiding. Available at: https://userguiding.com/blog/product-design-tips/ [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
  5. ‌Cheng, J. (2018). Product Design Process and Methods. [online] www.intechopen.com. IntechOpen. Available at: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/64024.
  6. ‌Anon, (2018). Product Design | Product Design Service | Spark Innovations. [online] Available at: https://www.sparkinnovations.com/product-design/.
  7. Ideas. (2019). A Comprehensive Guide To Product Design Part 2 | Adobe XD Ideas. [online] Availableat:https://xd.adobe.com/ideas/guides/comprehensive-guide-product-design-research-user-analysis-ideation-part-2/.
  8. ‌dribbble.com. (n.d.). Your Complete Guide to Product Design (2022 Guide) | Dribbble. [online] Available at: https://dribbble.com/resources/product-design [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
  9. ‌Anon, (2019). 8 Tips for Good Product Design – Technology OrgTechnology Org. [online] Available at: https://www.technology.org/2019/05/22/8-tips-for-good-product-design/.
  10. ‌eSparkBiz (2020). 10 Tips And Tricks For Creating a World-Class Product Design. [online] Medium. Available at: https://medium.muz.li/10-tips-and-tricks-for-creating-a-world-class-product-design-e660023b6b28 [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
  11. ‌-business/six-design-strategies-longer-lasting-products. (n.d.). [online] Available at: https://studio.edx.org/assets/courseware/v1/040f5fd125e064e955d11839dcdaa6f0/asset-v1:[email protected]+block/Six_design_strategies_for_longer_lasting_products_in_circular_economy__Guardian_Sustainable_Business__Guardian_Professional.pdf [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
Author

An explorer at heart, Kasturi Kunte is on a journey to discover the diverse world of art, architecture, and technology. She is a young architect who believes architecture is about binding humans, nature, art and built spaces together. She is currently exploring the field of writing and researching Architecture.

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