Dean Ramler, Mentor

What are the common mistakes made when designing a product?

StartupSmart /

I’m about to start selling a new range of products aimed at new mothers, but I want to make sure there aren’t any problems in usability/customer interaction. How can I ensure there aren’t any issues from the design stage?

 

Succeeding in the product design stage is crucial to the success of your business, yet has always proved difficult to entrepreneurs – studies have found that one in every three new launched products fail.

 

There are two common mistakes which frequently occur when designing a new product:

  1. Designing products that nobody wants.
  2. Designing products that are in demand but with undesirable features.

The first question you must answer is whether or not your product is actually in demand and sought after by customers, because if it is not then it doesn’t matter how brilliantly you design the product. This is a common mistake with new products, where uninformed decisions have been made to launch a new product. In order to succeed you need to make objective decisions and base your decisions on facts.

 

Google has a whole host of free online tools which you can use to assess whether your product has a market or not. With Google Insights for example you can see if people in your market are actively searching for similar items or not. If there is a growing search trend, then you can proceed.

 

A second common problem in the design stage is designing a product that is in demand, yet with features that are not desired by customers. At Milan Direct for example, in the office we may think it’s a good idea to add a laptop stand to our office chairs, but if our customers don’t perceive this as a value-add that they would pay extra for, than it is a complete waste of time and likely to lead to a product fail.

 

To overcome this challenge, research and development is critical. A low cost and creative way to undertake this research is to involve your own customer base in the design process from day one. Social media tools such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs are all great for this as they allow for two-way communication. For example, if you are designing a new range of products for mothers, set up a blog or Facebook fan page and put the question out to your customer base to see what mums want, and build the product around this feedback. In doing so you will create a product perfectly suited to your market, with a customer base that feel ownership of the product, giving your product the best chance to succeed.

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