How do you know if your new product will appeal to your customers?

We supply Product Design to a range of clients in different industry sectors. Not everyone understands their target customers as well as they could.
If you are fortunate enough to have regular contact with existing customers, they can be a valuable source of feedback and ideas. If every customer is crying out for something they cant currently get, it is a golden opportunity to supply something new to a ready made market.
If you are developing a new product it can be easy to make assumptions about what the end user wants, either through personal opinions or being blinkered by what the competition is doing.
A great way to understand your target market is to observe how they currently solve the problem your new product is addressing. They may be;

  • Using a competitors product
  • Struggling through without a solution
  • Not realise a problem exists
  • Not realise or believe their problems can be solved
In any of these situations why not identify a group of ‘friendly’ target users who do whatever it is your product will do, vacuuming a carpet, organising workspace, taking blood from a patient, etc. Observe and record how users complete the task, the things they do to work around features that don’t work with their current product, the features on their current product that just don’t perform or aren’t of use anyway.

Armed with this kind of data the design team can propose solutions that actually solve the end users problems, not just copy the competition or refresh the current design assuming it does everything the customer needs.

Your new product should then appeal to your customers, and be easier to sell. This is one of several methods utilised by our design team to understand end users and design better products.