Definition: Product Design is defined as the process of ideating, developing and upgrading digital or physical products to satisfy the needs of the ultimate consumer or solve their problems. The product is based on research, keeping the user’s experience in mind.
In other words, product design implies the development of the product, right from the preliminary stage until the beginning of actual production. The process of product design aims at yielding product specifications. On the clear determination of these specifications, they helps the production manager make decisions relating to purchase, equipment selection, worker assignment and production facility layout.
- Developing a distinct appearance or look for the product to increase its sales appeal.
- Increasing product utility.
- Increasing the efficiency of the product.
- Improving the quality while reducing the cost involved.
Characteristics of Product Design
- Complex: It covers a range of tasks, like research, defining, brainstorming, prototyping and testing.
- Human-centred: Product design is human-oriented. However, it covers the needs of business and market situations.
- Ongoing activity: Product design is a never-ending activity. Further, one cannot state its steps clearly. The organization pursues a structure that is appropriate and efficient. However, the process involves innumerable refinements necessary for identifying and understanding the problem and finding the best solution.
- Research and Development: It is the R&D department of the organization that is tasked with the designing of products. Its primary function is improving the state of knowledge and then transforming the same into physical products.
- Reverse Engineering: In this, the whole product is put into pieces in an attempt to understand its concept. It helps design new products.
- Manufacturability: The product designs should design the products in an easy way to assemble and manufacture. If the organization lacks the requisite facilities for producing the product, it must invest more in expanding its capacity.
- Standardization: It involves reducing the variations in product design. This helps streamline the process of manufacturing and also rationalizes cost.
- Modular Design: This entails designing product modules or parts that make it simple to assemble them into one final product. This makes a significant difference in the process of conversion and the complexity of the process.
- Robust Design: This means that the design has to be rough and tough, i.e. durable and long-lasting one which can work in different circumstances.
- Concurrent Engineering: Personnel from different departments will be a part of the design team, like marketing, engineering, materials, production, etc.
- Computer-Aided Design: CAD is a software that renders 3D designs of products. For this purpose, computers are used to display the design from various angles.
- Product Lifecycle: The different stages of the product lifecycle are incubation, growth, maturity, saturation and decline. The length of the lifecycle is different for different products.
Criteria for Product Design
- Functionality: When it comes to functionality, it must perform all the tasks for which it was designed. For this, the design should be such that it optimally performs the primary function or task. Hence, the product must satisfy the customer’s needs and wants.
- Reliability: It amounts to dependability. From the customer’s point of view, they like those products which perform their main tasks for a long period of time. So, the product must function in the intended manner for the minimum specified time.
- Productivity: Production of products should take place at a given cost for a specified quality and quantity.
- Standardisation: The products should be manufactured using parts that are easy to find and replace by the customers.
- Maintainability: The product should perform well for a specific period of time without requiring any maintenance.
- Safety: The product must be safe to use, and it should not pose any threat to its users.
- Cost Effectiveness: It has to be cost-efficient and must be produced using cost-feasible techniques.
- Repairability: Designing of the product should be such that it is easy to repair whenever there is any need for it.
- Aesthetics: The product must look, feel, sound, taste, or smell good. Also, it should be attractive, compact and convenient to use.
- Compact: The product must be handy and lightweight. It should not occupy a huge space. Hence, it should be compact.
A word from Business Jargons
A product designer aims to satisfy customers by integrating user needs with business goals to produce a usable product. It not just focuses on the particular product but its overall experience.
The essence of an effective product design is deeply analysing and understanding the needs of the end consumer. This is because he is the one who is going to consume the product.