When it comes to creating exceptional products, the most crucial “feature” is design. We’ve arrived at a point when the product design is king. It’s what distinguishes businesses and provides them a competitive advantage. For us, Product Design isn’t a new term. We often use them in everyday life. Yet, how many of us are aware of the term in a real sense?
Let’s dive deep into this topic.
What is Product Design?
Product design is the process where designers combine customer demands with commercial objectives. This assists businesses in creating successful goods. Product designers improve the user experience in the products they develop for their customers. They also aid their brands by ensuring that their products are long-lasting.
Further, they make sure they meet the long-term business goals. Also, the term applies to the end product of this procedure. In other words, the design attributes to the stage before the manufactured object.
Consider this example: The Coca-Cola contour bottle is immediately recognizable and stretches back to 1915. That was when the Coca-Cola Company requested its bottle manufacturers to develop a new container. It was designed to be unique and readily recognizable – perhaps in the dark too.
What is the Product Design process?
Designers utilize the Product Design process to address issues. A product designer’s conceptions and abilities are diverse. Depending on where you are in the process, it will differ.
You get to wear several hats as a product designer. This means your day-to-day work will never be the same. You’ll be a combination of problem solvers, researchers, developers, product managers, and marketers.
The design process is a set of processes from start to end while developing a product. Having a strong, well-structured process is critical for two reasons:
- It aids in maintaining attention and adhering to a timetable.
- It is hard to give a uniform design process that applies to all projects.
Yet, a basic approach for developing new products is possible to describe.
Let us take the example of Apple’s new product design process. It seamlessly combines innovation with iterations to give a stunning outcome.
Step 1: Product Focused Assessment
The team takes a quick look at the findings of the current product. They list the number of improvement points. Then, they decide the possibilities of making improvements.
For each improvement point, the team works upon a target metric. Until the previous metric is achieved, they do not move ahead. It helps them to generally assess the product development.
Step 2: Set the Limits to the Conditions
This is one of the most important process steps in product design. It defines the list of boundary conditions. Further, it eliminates any type of out-of-bounds processes. The teams and management divide the boundary conditions under these five dimensions –
- Product Cost
Once this list is frozen, the management then agrees upon the quantitative thresholds. For instance, the schedule will have something as “no later than xx” date. Sometimes, the team may have to go beyond the boundary, known as boundary break. At such times, there is an escalation process when the upper management team steps in and puts forth a new quantitative metric.
Step 3: Implement the Process
- Once the groundwork is done and the limits are set, the team starts ideating on the basis of Step 1.
- They then create a prototype. This is the longest process stage. It uses 10 to 3 to 1. The team works upon 10 ideas. It then selects 3 of them and finalizes only 1 to work on the prototype.
- Next, the team selects the prototype and starts developing the necessary material. The material will include all the processes described in detail. It shall even have maps at different stages.
Step 4: Weekly Review Meetings
To understand if the team is on the right track, they hold weekly review meetings. This helps the executive team to know if there are any lags in the processes.
Step 5: Peer Meetings
This is another important step in the process. In this step, the product is shared between the peers. The meetings include engineers and the design team where both the teams focus on improving the design idea. This is kind of a brainstorming stage where creative ideas are fuelled for making the best product.
Step 6: The Final Production
The product prototype designed is now produced with any new iterations and tested. Once the teams think it is all they want to create, they rigorously test it. Plus, it also involves packaging in the right way to achieve the best consumer experience.
Product design as a Career Option
A career as a product designer is a wonderful choice. With each passing day, the need for product designers grows.
Yet, there is a severe lack of skilled product designers in the market. Aspirants who have relevant job experience have a greater chance of becoming product designers.
You have increased responsibility and specialized experience with higher pay.
Product Design is your dream job if you:
- Can develop and integrate business objectives into design and product considerations.
- Enjoy being a part of the full design process.
- Have a strong grasp of design and business.
- Can check large amounts of data to create designs meeting both business and user demands.
There are a range of industries and businesses where candidates can seek job opportunities. Your contributions to the design of products will prove your abilities as an innovative problem-solver.
Ok, I like Product Design.
Should I give a sh*t about which Industry to work for?
It’s tough not to, here are 2 reasons why –
- It’s what you’ll be living and breathing during your professional life (~160-hours every month – thats like binge watching all 236 episodes of Friends , twice – That long!)
- Industry expertise matters – 8/10 professionals agree switching industries is pain in the a*s
Have a sneak peek at these google searches around industry switching –
I hope you are able to get an idea of what I am trying to highlight –
Choosing the right industry will solve 80% of your future career problems while others will still be figuring out why they hate going to work so much.
Top 3 Industries for PD
Other important industries –