Designing a product is just not as easy, and it will never be. While companies may come up with unique ideas for their new product, it’s hard to figure out if the final product will be profitable for them or not. Besides, there are various other challenges business stakeholders face like, figuring out their target audience, the business goals to satisfy, and which branding messages to convey through the product. This is even harder during the early stages of the product design process, as business strategies tend to evolve which disturbs the entire product development life cycle. This makes product designing a complex process that needs to start with the right plan and objective to make something that succeeds.
Table of content:
Know that the process of new product design has many iterations and steps from beginning to end. To better understand it, here is a step-by-step guide to the product design process:
1. Brainstorming Ideas
Any product design process starts with brainstorming ideas for the product. This begins with first understanding the customer and what they are looking for. Based on this, companies pinpoint a variety of possible solutions and ideas that can answer those needs. There are a variety of sources that can help you generate ideas for your new product. Some companies choose to have internal brainstorming sessions where they assemble their team and get ideas on the floor. Some take advantage of outside sources such as consumer trends, web forums, market environment, crowdsourcing platforms, etc.
Idea generation can begin with a hyper-local situation and can even branch out to a global one, but it needs to start by identifying a bonafide customer need. Make sure your final idea have relevant answers to questions like:
- Who is your customer?
- What are their needs that your product can satisfy?
- What business goals can you satisfy through it?
2. Idea Screening
Now that you have a list of potential new product ideas ready, it’s time to vet every one of them. Decide which ideas to pursue and which ones you can discard. This is an important step as it will help you avoid unnecessary expenses to move forward with the design process. Assemble a focus, or send out surveys seeking feedback from your team to review and evaluate the ideas. Will it meet the company’s needs? Will it be able to fill the existing gap between the customer’s problem and the solution? What will be the potential impact on the profits? Answering these questions will allow you to avoid any extra cost on unnecessary complex ideas.
The criteria for identifying the right ideas are different depending on the project and the industry. Often, ideas are screened through focus groups and user studies. They are then ranked in order of desirability and creativity. Alternatively, a more formal discussion about each idea is performed examining the pros & cons and other important details that are enough to decide whether the idea should be considered or not.
3. Feasibility Study
Once you have refined ideas that are more suitable for further considerations, it’s time to take the market analysis followed by the economic, technical, and strategic analysis into account. A feasibility study is a process that takes all these relevant factors and discerns the pros and cons of the product before investing in it.
Market analysis will help you look at the bigger picture of the product market that will assess whether or not there is enough demand and if the idea should be considered. If there is adequate demand for the product, an economic analysis is performed which allocates the cost of production and development and compares them against an expected sales volume. Product profitability and return on investment are also included in this analysis.
Once it’s done, comprehensive technical and strategic analyses take place. They are concerned primarily with the viability of the product including technology, manufacturing process, and availability of product materials. Products that pass the feasibility study are ready to move to the next step in the design process.
4. Prototyping and Testing
It’s time to test your product concept by moving into the design and production stage. To test your product design, you will create an actual prototype or a mockup. Run a small-scale release with a set of target customers and generate feedback. This will help you evaluate and identify the areas of improvement to further develop your product.
This will also be a great opportunity to see if your product is on the right track while also working through major technical issues or add requested features. Prepare your marketing team, customer, and technical support, and sales team. Also, determine your pricing strategies and other necessary details.
Think of it as running beta tests for an app.
Constantly test and redesign your prototype until a viable design is determined. Once adjustments are made with constant testing between markets and consumer groups, it’s time to move into large-scale production and the official launch. Continuous testing the product for performance, market testing is also performed to check whether the product will be successful in serving the defined market or user group. This will give you a clear idea of whether customers are interested in what you have to offer and will purchase once it’s officially in the market. Thus, testing is the most critical step in product designing.
5. Product Launch & Iterating
It’s time to commercialize your new product by bringing it into the marketplace. When launching your product in the market, it’s wise for you to only focus on the core features so that your product can simply move forward and start generating sales figures.
When you launch your product, start your production at a relatively low level of volume and increase it slowly as your product starts to gain traction with your audience. Lastly, don’t forget to constantly update and iterate your product as per growing customer needs. Launching your product doesn’t mean the product design process is over. It’s an ongoing process that continues as long as the product is alive and in use. Look out for ways you can improve it further and iterate as required.
Designing a product is a complex process but it isn’t difficult when you understand the needs and problems of your potential customers. After all, they’re the ones that are going to use it eventually. To design a product that succeeds you need to identify a problem, define the users facing that problem, and deliver the solution. Working with a product development company like Spark Eighteen will help you steer clear of more than half of these tasks to ensure a smooth product development process. Collaborate with us today and let’s work towards your product development and design!
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