Every inventor, manufacturer or designer wants to produce a product which their customers truly love. Here at 4D Products, we have been designing products for over a decade, and one thing we have learnt along the way is that user-centred designs are always more successful than those that don’t consider their audience.
By designing with your consumers in mind, you can ensure you are creating a product which solves a problem and will benefit their day to day lives. Failing to consider your end-users needs can result in poorly designed products which are not suitable, too similar to competitors or missing vital features which customers really want.
Many product designers undergo user research and market testing after the initial prototypes are created, but at this stage it can be too late in the development process to make significant changes. This research and testing needs to be one of the first things you do when designing a new product.
How Do You Know If Your New Product Will Appeal To Your Customers?
Our team of experts supply product design services to a range of clients in different industry sectors. So, it’s become clear to us that not everyone understands their target customers as well as they could. The only real way to design for customers, is to get to know your end users and understand what it is they want, and more importantly, don’t want.
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 can’t currently get, it is a golden opportunity to supply something new to a ready made market. Take the time to listen to your audience and you will quickly see where your product can fit into their daily lives.
Many new businesses and ideas do not yet have existing customers to source this information from. Not knowing who your customers are makes it even more challenging to design with them in mind. If this is the case, you need to identify exactly who your product’s users are, and bear in mind that your product might have multiple user groups. Once you have a solid understanding of who your audience is, you can engage with them to get to grips with what it is they really want. You could send out surveys, observe how they use similar products or invite them to take part in workshops.
How To Design Products With Customers In Mind?
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 competitor’s 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 you can identify a group of ‘friendly’ target users who do whatever it is your product will do, whether that be vacuuming a carpet, organising workspace, taking blood from a patient, etc. Take the time to 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.
Just Like in Any Successful Relationship, Listening & Understanding is Key
Designing in this way can help you to understand the reality of how your product will be used and ensure that your finished product is suitable for the task at hand. Once you get to know your audiences’ requirements, struggles and habits, you will be better placed to create something which brings true value to their lives.
Previous design project – Zerotape product launch
At 4D Products, we have been designing for customers for many years. This is one of several methods utilised by our design team to understand end users and design better products. When you work with us for your new product, you can be sure that we will conduct appropriate research and testing to gain a full understanding of your end users.