The Steppingstones to Product Design from the Mako Strategy Team
The most crucial parts of creating your invention is the product design process. Although inventors may have an Idea of what they want to create, however a lot of inventors fall that their ideas fall short or never come to the light of fruition because they aren’t as prepared or realistically possible as they thought they would be. Having a strong and clear product design strategy is the smartest and best way to ensure that your ideas come to life – and have a good chance of being successful for a business or entrepreneurial venture. Here are Mako Designs’ best and recommended steps to product design that every upcoming inventor should follow in order to create a successful product.
Steps to Product Design – Define the Problem
The first and most important step to having a clear product design strategy is defining the problem that your product idea will solve. If you look at every product around you – you’ll notice that everything services a purpose. The purpose of the things around us mainly serves to present a solution to an inconvenience that thousands of people face daily. Therefore, every product is essentially a solution to a problem that exists within society or within a certain field of interest that niche audiences experience. The first step to product design should always begin by identifying the problem that your product idea is set out to solve.
The next step is to define who exactly experiences or has this problem – whether it be a mass audience, or a target niche group, knowing who you want to make your product form will make it easier to market your product along the way of your product design process. A great way to identify and understand your target audience is to create persona charts that explain who each possible person your product would be appealing to. Finally, define the goal of your product. After you’ve identified what the problem needs to be fixed is and your audience, its time to define the goal of your product and how it’s going to solve that problem. This is how you create your products main functionality and purpose.
Most Important Step to Product Design – Research!
The steps to product design almost always require that a great amount of research should be taken in order to create something great. Within the quintessential product design strategy, a few aspects need to be researched in order to accurately target the strongest way to create your product. Once you understand what your product is, and who it’s for, it’s time to research what already exists within the market. Looking at other products that already exist in your targeted market will give you show you not only your direct competitors but also how they strategically market and advertise their product. From researching your competition, you can get a good idea of the business models and strategies that your competition uses, and what you can do differently to stand out and create a strong business design model. Knowing who your competition also allows you to create clear goals about what you want to achieve for yourself and your business.
Another area to research is your target audience. Even though you may know who they are – it’s important to understand what they go through when they face the inconvenience that your product is supposed to solve. Through empathizing with your target audience and directly going what they went through you can see what faults your product should directly fix or solve, as well as what would feel right to use when facing the problem. The ultimate goal in understanding and empathizing with your audiences is to be able to define your target users’ point of view when encountering the problem, and when understanding what you feel would ideally be needed in the specific situation. Understanding your audience’s experiences gives you a clearer vision about what your products direct functions should be, should have, and look like.
The Hardest Steps to Product Design – Brainstorming
Once you know your product and understand who your audience is and how they feel – comes the hardest part within the steps to product design – brainstorming your product design. Brainstorming is by far one of the hardest parts to your product design strategy because unlike researching and defining your product, you have to think of a design on your own without any resource to base your design off of. Because you’ve looked at your competition, you already know what exists and what is currently working, but the tough part is brainstorming a totally new product that is equally unique and innovative. A great amount of creativity is needed during this part of the design process, so it’s best to surround yourself with a lot of inspiring and motivating content in order to not burn out and hit a brain block when trying to invent.
Another way to brainstorm a great product design is to collaborate with others around you who have the same vision – perhaps a business partner or a family member who will be apart of your future small business. If collaboration is not ideal, you can reach to out to professional leading product development firms such as Mako Design to work with world-class designers and engineers who can help create a design that fulfills both your product’s function and ideal look.
The Next Steps to Product Design – Creating a Solution
Creating a solution to the problem that you’ve identified with your product idea is essentially the main goal of creating a product in the first place. Now that you’ve researched your audience and brainstormed an idea for how you’d like your product to function and look like – the next steps to product design require creating a solution to that problem through finally creating your product! There are a lot of ways that your product can be developed, but what is most important is that you follow a strict product strategy so that your time, efforts, and costs are all used efficiently so nothing is wasted. The best way to create your solution and product is to start with a prototype. There are many steps and different kinds of prototypes that can be built before coming with the final version of the prototype (such as a wireframe), but essentially the point of this step is to create the tangible version of your problem that will solve your problem.
Want to learn everything you need to know about prototypes? Check out this informative and in-depth blog that discusses prototypes and the different kinds here!
Important Steps to Product Design – Using Feedback!
A mistake to avoid thinking is that once you have your first prototype, you almost ready to mass produce your product for the shelves. In fact, the first prototype is just another long step within the steps to product design, as it now gives you the opportunity to experiment and feel out your product. It’s in your best interest to analyze a couple of things with your first prototype to fully analyze the problems that could exist within your first product design. A great way to judge the performance and feel of your product is to ask for client or customer feedback, ideally through sending a few mock prototypes to early customers or crowd funders who are interested and invested in the idea of your product.
Another way to gain feedback is to examine the economic viability of your product. A huge concern for upcoming business owners and inventors is the cost of how much it’ll take to build their product. Look at what would be the most beneficially cost-effective for both your business by exploring different ways you can build your prototype using less expensive materials or sources, as well as what price-point will be fair to your consumers to purchase the product that will ensure both profit for yourself and a fair price to enter in within the market.
Finally, another important way to gain feedback for your product is to examine and determine its environmental viability. Try to experiment with your product in order to make it as environmentally friendly as possible as this can help not only attract customers who are environmentally conscious of their carbon footprint, but also because sustainable products are not only more cost-effective to produce, but are beneficial towards helping to create a more innovative and beneficial future for the resources and health of our world.
The Final Steps to Product Design – Improve and Redesign
One of the final steps to product design, as well as the most anticipated, is accumulated all your feedback from your first prototype and creating a new improved and redesigned version of your product. Some factors to look towards improving when redesigning your product is to improve the cost-efficiency (making your product more affordable for both your consumers, and to product), the material (making a product that feels better and easier to use), the aesthetics (fine-tuning any important details that’ll make your product look better and more high-quality), and finally, incorporating any branding onto your product (applying a logo, brands colours, slogan or image to the products design).
One idea to avoid is that after redesigning and making the first official product, you’re ready to send the product into production and debut it into the market. The improvement and redesigning stage should be done a couple of times until you feel confident that your product best fulfills its function flawlessly, properly, and efficiently solves a problem, and is built in a way that makes it both appealing and comfortable to use for its targeted audiences. Having multiple prototypes is never bad for product strategy because it ensures the success of your product and makes sure its fully ready to enter the market.
If you have a great new invention and you’d like to learn more about this process, get in touch with MAKO here and visit our website to find out more. Feel free to give us a call at 1-888-MAKO and we can set you up on a call with our product analyst!
Article Author: MAKO Design + Invent
MAKO Design + Invent is a full-service consumer product development firm servicing both high-growth corporate manufacturers and invention startups. With a 25-person team across 3 offices (Austin, England, Toronto), MAKO has complete in-house industrial design, mechanical engineering, and electrical engineering design and prototyping services. To assist our start-up inventor clients, we also have a subsidiary branch called Mako Invent that, in addition to above, helps start-ups with patenting, strategy, marketing, and sales/distribution for all consumer product categories. For our corporate clients, MAKO Design develops world-class consumer electronics designs through our industrial, mechanical, and electrical design teams.
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