Product Development

Decision Making in Design

By 4th July 2011 June 18th, 2021 No Comments

We recently designed a piece of sports training equipment. Early on in the project the question arose, ‘How many features should I include in my product?’

The client was keen to pack as much functionality into the product as possible, giving the user every feature possible, whilst still aiming for an acceptable retail price.

Whilst the client wanted to wow their customers and was passionate about improving the sporting skills of the users, the business case suggested the best way to proceed was to create a modular system, whereby a base level unit could be offered at an attractive price and extra elements sold as add-ons, generating ongoing revenue.

If this is not possible, and price points dictate you can’t include every last feature then you need a way of deciding the best course of action.

A Product Design Matrix is a method of scoring various elements of a design, allowing stake holders to sort features by how important they are to the finished products success. You can also assess two concepts side by side to see which scores highest for the most desirable aspects.

Our advice would be to write a specification detailing every feature and function you think the end product needs to deliver. Give each requirement a score, and decide whether it is a must have feature. We would always endeavour to deliver every feature within the target manufacturing cost, but if this is not technically feasible then you need to go through a process of elimination. What can you leave out whilst still maintaining the perceived value of the finished product? Don’t get personal. Get feedback from your potential customers, do they really need a TV built into that new toaster you are developing? Would they pay extra for it?

Get in touch if you would like to apply our proven design techniques to your product development project.