Why Is Good Product Design Important for Start-Ups?
Updated: Mar 3
Criador Labs | Product Design Firm | USA & India
The goal of designing any product has to be to make it easier to get things done for its users. It is about problem-solving; about visualizing the needs of the user and bringing a solution to life.
Product design is an integral part of the product development cycle. Designing a new product requires analytical, process, and problem-solving skills. The goal of designing any product has to be to make it easier to get things done for its users. It is about problem-solving; about visualizing the needs of the user and bringing a solution to life.
Start-ups usually have limited resources and time. At first, entrepreneurs often question whether it is really a good idea to invest scarce resources in product design? Yes, it always is. We’ve been in the industry for many years – and we can say that very confidently. If you have an idea for a product that you need to develop from scratch, here’s why you must consider product design for your start-up project.
Design thinking: explore more possibilities.
Entrepreneurs are generally very protective about the end product once they’ve had an idea. This is not good practice if you want to make a great product. With design thinking, you go beyond your normal vision and define each problem first. This gives you a clear idea about how to begin your product development process. Later, you can explore multiple solutions to solve the specific problem.
For example, you realize that in an urban area polluted water is an issue for the people living there. Now, think about why that might be happening. It could be that tributary rivers or streams are polluted, or perhaps the supply pipeline is broken, or maybe the tank has gone uncleaned for a long time. Similarly, in design thinking, you must analyze a problem and its roots carefully.
Once you have explored the problem’s sources, you can very easily find measures to fix them. In this case, the most obvious solution of getting a water filter is not the optimum solution. Design thinking is all about defining possible problems and their causes and dealing with them through strategic and practical processes.
Save time and resources with concept design.
Nothing comes out perfect the first time. That’s a very practical statement about almost any product development process. To resolve this and keep the cost of this truth to a minimum, a very practical approach for your new product development should involve hand-drawn or graphical concept sketches. They should include the design of interactions, experiences, processes, and strategies. This involves an understanding of people's needs –and how to meet them with products, services, and processes. Here’s why you should consider concept design as a fundamental part of your early-stage design process. Below is a concept design of the first iWatch. In one picture, it explains concisely what the product is all about, which component goes where, and how users will interact. These simple visual explanations can help to answer the bigger questions and any potential investor's doubts about your product.
If you begin your product development by going directly from your mind to the computer to a prototype, the chances are you might end up with something unexpected – and which your consumer is not going to like. Unfortunately, by that stage, you will have exhausted resources on the prototype already. Going back and doing things will be expensive – or, perhaps, even financially impossible. With concept design, you can avoid this from happening. Once your concept is on paper, you can check on how it has been imagined. Does it have all the features, the symmetry? If not, you’re free to go back and recheck again and again, until you are satisfied. And this can be achieved without blowing unnecessary resources on an unsatisfactory solution.
Add the Usability factor.
Technology allows us to think futuristically and design allows us to think for the user. Tech start-ups have a track record in leaving user requirements to the side because they feel they have an edge through their new emerging technology. Sometimes this works, but often it doesn’t. Google Glass is one fine example of such missteps. It is considered to be one of the biggest flops of all time. So, how could product development go so wrong at such a successful and giant company? The answer is simple. The product was designed based on their developers’ ideas, not for the user’s needs. It was an awkward device to carry, too highly-priced for the mainstream market, and delivered low goal achievement in daily life. Google might be able to absorb the cost of such a costly mistake in new product development, but the average start-up could not.
In a start-up, it is important for entrepreneurs to understand their users. That understanding comes when you start thinking like a user. With an effective design process, you include the usability factor in your considerations. You make sure that the product is not only meant for your business goals, but for the user’s goals of making their life easier. The daily activity of your user must directly overlap with the daily usability of the product if a product is to be great. If you look back on all the great tech products, you will realize they were user-centered; technology was only the medium to provide a solution.
First product success
We all know that the start-up world is hard. Launching a great product at the very first attempt is difficult. Even Steve Jobs was not able to launch a perfect Macintosh at his very first attempt. It had many bugs and issues which were only later refined during the next generations of the product.
We might accept that the first iteration of our product won’t be its final destination but, with help of good design, we can reduce the number of errors. The use of an effective concept development process and design mock-ups is vital. The design will help you refine your product faster and rectify potential issues before it even gets off the drawing board – so you can save your resources for final development
The creation of any product successfully is the biggest task for your start-up. In the current competitive market, you need an edge. That edge will come only when your users love your product. It doesn’t matter whether it has all the technology and features, it just needs to deliver everything it is meant to perfectly.
If you are convinced to have a product idea, let us know. For the past five years, we’ve worked every day with start-ups to help them with product design. Not only have we designed great products, but we’ve helped many start-ups efficiently bring their ideas to life.