What to Know About Designing Products
So, you binge-watched all of an innovation show, have come up with a great idea, and are now ready to start building. Well, how do you go from an idea to a product you can market? It’s both easy and complicated at the same time, but you can make that journey.
First, you need to understand the basics of product design: buyers. Your product can look fancy, have all the bells and whistles, and be cheaper than dirt, but it also needs to solve a problem or no one will buy it. Chances are you might have an idea, but you also need to think of why people would buy it.
Thinking about Potential Buyers
Let’s say your idea is for a new type of lawn chair. It will be light, easy to carry, and you can set it up on any surface. That’s a great idea, but who is your audience? What problem will the chair solve? You could market it to the elderly or the young who typically can’t stand for very long without getting tired, or to the outdoor community.
RV campers and those who love to live outdoors are forever in need of portable seating. Now you’ve got two audiences and two problems to solve: the elderly/young for comfort and stopping sore legs, and the outdoorsmen for portability and ease of use. Whatever your idea is, think about your audience and why they would use it.
Test the Product
Ask people in your target audience if they would appreciate the product. Going back to the example, ask some of your more outdoorsy friends if they need a portable chair. Better yet, ask them if they have any problems finding comfortable outdoor seating. If you can get a list of problems straight from the mouths of your audience, then you know the problem(s) that your item has to solve.
Getting people interested in the design phase of your product also allows for you to motivate yourself. If you’ve got ten friends who all want your product, it’s much harder for you to quit when things get tough. It’s easy to throw in the towel when no one knows about your project, but when others are excited about it, the enthusiasm works for you.
Be Your Own MacGyver
While you might not get custom factory builds when you first start out to manufacture your product, you can build a prototype out of whatever you can. It’s a prototype, so as long as it clearly demonstrates the product and what it can do it doesn’t have to look good.
Go to the junkyard, the hardware store, the local trading shows, or just open up the cluttered garage. Give your imagination time to play, and pieces of trash, random clutter, or tools can become valuable parts for your prototype. It’s a fun and rewarding experience when a few pieces of random clutter become your masterpiece.
Design isn’t easy, but by working hard, you can create the next big thing.