Factors influencing Product Development
One major factor that affects product design is the cost of production including material costs and labor costs. These in turn affect the pricing strategy, which needs to be in line with what the customer is prepared to pay for it.
The product needs to be user friendly and afford convenience in its function. Using ergonomic measurements, minor or major changes may need to be made to product design to meet essential requirements.
Whether the requisite materials are available easily is an important consideration in product design. In addition, an eye needs to be kept on new developments in materials and technology.
One major and obvious influence on the design on the product is the customer and their requirements. It is vital to capture customer feedback on any prototype as well as during the planning and conceptual stages. Even a technologically advanced and exciting feature may need to be removed if it causes dislike or negative feelings in an end user.
The company’s identity is a point of pride and as a matter of course, a product’s very design or color schemes and features may be determined by this identity. The logo may need to be featured in a specific manner or subtle or overt features of the company identity may need to be built into the design.
The product may need to appear stylish or of a certain shape. This form may end up determining the technology that it built into the product. This may in turn also affect the manufacturing process that needs to be followed.
The current fashion and trends may also affect a certain product’s design. Customers will want the most updated options and this needs to be considered during product design.
If a product is for a certain market with its own individual culture, this needs to be kept in mind during product design. A product acceptable in one culture may end up being offensive or not desirable in another one.
How many problems is the product trying to solve? The number of uses and functions a product has will impact its design.
Another consideration to product design is its impact on the environment. The average customer these days may be more discerning and concerned about the environment than before. Things to consider here may include whether the materials used are recyclable, how the product will be disposed of at the end of its life or how the packaging can be disposed of.
CONSIDERATION IN PRODUCT DESIGN
Product design is a complex process, since all the relevant stakeholders have different requirements from the product. An example of conflicting needs that will require attention during product design are:
The manufacturer will want the product to be created at the lowest cost possible, in order to maximize profit and ensure sales. A prohibitively expensive product will have higher price tag and may drive away customers. Often, this may mean a product redesign or a compromise on quality.
Price, Appearance, and Prestige Value
The customer will always want a well presented product with a functional yet aesthetically appealing design. They will also want it to be priced reasonably. The appearance may not always be vital to function, but if there are multiple nearly similar products in the market, the look of the product may become the deciding factor.
There needs to be equal focus on the functionality of the product or how well it performs. This is a given as the product foremost needs to perform as it claims to. The end user may purchase for the external appearance. But long term satisfaction and repeat usage will only occur if the product performs at an optimal level
Product designers, manufacturers and maintenance workers may all favor a modular construction for a product. The more easily different parts can be worked on individually, the more versatility the product offers. A re-design effort may only need to focus on changing certain parts rather than the whole, the manufacturer can easily tweak elements without changing entire production processes and maintenance workers may not need to disassemble everything, thereby reducing repair time and effort.