One of the most interesting aspects about product design and development and observing how certain fields of products change and progress as technology and societies need increase over time. A huge aspect that has become increasingly popular over time in the product design, tech, and development field is how products and designs have changed so that they are easily more portable. Portability has been a huge aspect in product development as product designers are looking for more ways for people to do more with smaller and more compact products for on-the-go easy access. Below we’ve listed some of the biggest changes in product design that helped support portability and portable design.
Micro Changes and Portable Design
A big mistake to make in product development is to assume that when you go back to redevelop your product you must make a big change in order for consumers to want to repurchase the newest edition of your product. In fact, following the idea of the ‘MVP’, sometimes the best changes you can make to your product are the simplest ones. The idea of micro changes to new products comes a from a successful strategy proven to work by big tech companies such as apple who are notorious for making small changes to their products, but still being successful in their newest releases. This same tactic is not only limited to having a big company (although a fanbase as loyal as there would be nice!), but works well for any other product business, no matter big or small! Micro changes to products have varied from small advanced tech features and more functionalities within the product, but a popular way to apply a micro change your products portable design is to simply find a way to make your product easier to carry around and use on-the-go. Another popular way is to offer more functionality within the size of your product. If its possible, adds some extra bells and whistle to your product to act as the ‘crème de la crème’ to your product’s main functionality – this is the perfect way to bring audiences in and make your product more unique.
Portable Design = Wireless Everything!
If you’re designing a product with a large electrical aspect to it, chances are you might need to plug your product into a power source. Although some products require being plugged in, it can still be a hassle for a majority of audiences who’d like to use their products more easily without the limitations of being attached to a wire and stuck in a small circumference of area. For this reason, product design development has changed through portable design marketing the aspect of new products beings “wireless.” A good strategy to improving your product would be to see what is available in terms of power sources. Try redeveloping your product to have simpler sources of power that don’t require wires or a plug-in source (wireless charging, battery run). Alternatively, researching into Bluetooth technology is a good way to make your product more tech savvy and can give a portable design aspect to your products design.
How PCB Technology Benefits Portable Design
A large aspect of how portable design has changed product design over the past years can be due to how technology has improved. A lot of products functionalities rely on their electrical components – such as phones, computers and music listening devices. Over the past couple of decades, we’ve seen these devices turn from traditional forms of media by existing as large devices into devices that can easily fit into our pockets. There are a number of reasons that can account for technology has changed, but one reason is due to how much PCB technology has improved. Older devices were limited to using PCB’s with only 3 to 4 layers, whereas current day PCB technology more commonly uses up to 32 layers. With more layers, there requires less rooting on the main board of the PCB, leaving the PCB with more room to allow more components to place on top. With electrical devices, the more components that are available to be placed on the PCB, the more opportunity there is for the device to be able to do more. Additionally, the components that are placed on PCB’s have also gotten smaller and more powerful. The smaller a powerful PCB can be, the more small and powerful electrical devices have the capacity to be, leaving for products that can have multiple functionalities all within one product, making it possible for a portable design to be easily implemented.
A modern day PCB
An older PCB – notice how the components are larger and take up a lot of room
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About: MAKO Design + Invent is the original firm providing world-class consumer product development services tailored to startups, small manufacturers, and inventors. Simply put, we are the leading one-stop-shop for developing your physical product from idea to store shelves, all in a high-quality, cost-effective, and timely manner. We operate as one powerhouse 30-person product design team spread across 4 offices to serve you (Austin, Miami, San Francisco, & Toronto). We have full-stack in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, patent referral, prototyping, and manufacturing services. To assist our startup and inventor clients, in addition to above, we help with business strategy, product strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. Also, our founder Kevin Mako hosts The Product Startup Podcast, the industry's leading hardware podcast. Check it out for tips, interviews, and best practices for hardware startups, inventors, and product developers. Click HERE to learn more about MAKO Design + Invent!