Have you ever stopped to think about what makes your toothbrush so effective in cleaning your teeth or why your pen sits perfectly in your hand and writes smoothly? Do you ever wonder how the application that you use to buy something online or pay for bills works? Thanks to industrial designers, you won’t have to sweat these details.
No matter how work-a-day it may seem, each product you use went through a rigorous process of industrial design. During this procedure, two crucial questions were answered. First, does the product offer a solution to a user’s need? Second, is mass-producing the product feasible? In a nutshell, designing a product revolves around this model.
What is Product Design?
Designing a product for industrial applications involves identifying a need or problem that presents a profitable market opportunity, developing a practical solution that can be reproduced easily and cost-efficiently, and validating the result with actual users. This process applies to physical products like your pen or toothbrush and digital products like apps or software.
In today’s consumer-centric market, engaging target users and providing them an extraordinary experience is critical. That is why the industrial design process is probably the most essential step in creating a product. This fact considers all aspects of user experience, such as product function, usability, and aesthetics.
What is the Design Process?
When coming up with a new product, you have to consider what problem you are trying to solve with it, who will stand to benefit from the solution, and your business goals. Balancing the users’ needs and the viability of the product for industrial and commercial applications is vital.
The journey of each new product is unique, from ideation to realization, but the design process generally follows the following steps:
- Empathize with the user
Gather information about your intended users. This will help you identify the problem correctly, an essential requirement for the design process’s next steps.
- Define the problem
Using the information gathered from the previous step, come up with a clear and focused problem statement. This must be based on your target audience’s point of view.
- Ideation stage
With your design team, brainstorm for a creative and innovative solution to the problem previously identified. Many methods are being used today, from user journey mapping to storyboards to user and job stories.
From there, you can sketch or use wireframing tools to give your idea a crude form. This will help your design team visualize the idea better moving forward and give you a clear idea of what to build.
- Designing the product
With your idea fully formed, it is time to design the product. This step involves creating a prototype, evaluating it with the help of stakeholders and a control group of users, and making improvements based on the result of the evaluation. This cycle is repeated until you come up with a prototype that meets the requirements of both the test user and the investor.
- Testing and validating the product
Once you have a fleshed out product, you can proceed to test it on real users. This can be performed in a controlled environment or in real-life locations where your target users are.
The industrial design process can make or break a product. If implemented well, it will give you a product that can improve your target user’s quality of life.