Common Product Design Mistakes

The best product designers learn through trial and error. What they tend to realize before long is that listening to users and fulfilling their needs is the best way to develop great products. 

There is a great deal that goes into designing, developing and manufacturing a new product. The design has to begin with a good understanding of users and their goals and not listening to them results in some common mistakes. 

Not doing enough consumer research

If your product doesn’t solve a problem for a user, there is no point in building it. You need to be very clear about new product development and how new products will improve the lives of those who use them.   

You can’t say that you know your potential customers without conducting market research. It is a mistake to design around hunches instead of data. Thinking you know everything about your potential customer can be a big mistake because seemingly small subtleties can make or break the success of your product.  

Failing to understand market trends

It is not ideal to find out you’ve overlooked an important product requirement after the design process. It is important to study the industry standards relating to your product as well as requirements specific to retailers and optional certifications customers may be looking out for when shopping for a product. 

A simple example is that a common DC power adaptor is dated and consumers expect a wall plug-in USB today.

Unspecified testing expectations

If your product has to meet certain standards, this needs to be made known from the outset because it plays a major role in the design process. For example, not outlining strict tolerances for a product means a supplier will use existing standards for a product category to test. 

If you want to keep your schedule on track, you have to be very clear about specific testing methods or special requirements. 

Not experiencing the product yourself

Unless you have spent some type interacting with a prototype of your product, you won’t have played through some of the scenarios your users might face. Performance and aesthetics are both important and consumers want something that is functional, attractive and long-lasting. 

You need to focus on user’s experience and how/when/why and where consumers will interact with your product. With so much competition in the market, you can’t afford not to focus on the experience. 

Making a product too complex

It is easy to get lost in the details of implementation and end up with a product that’s too difficult to use. If you analyze the history to know the biggest products fails, you’ll understand why it’s a wrong notion to think that users know what you know. 

You have to realize that what may be simple for you may pose a problem to potential users. Trying to incorporate as many features and buttons as possible can overwhelm prospective and intimidate users. 

Placing too much emphasis on aesthetic appearance   

Designers may make the mistake of dwelling too much on the aesthetic appearance of a product. Understanding the balance between aesthetics, cost and performance is essential. 

Superior aesthetics may rake in sales initially but when users realize that the product doesn’t perform well, they won’t come back for more and will probably tell their friends not to either. 

Wrong timing

Modern consumers expect lightning-fast time to market, which can be quite overwhelming for a small company new to product design. You may find yourself up against competitors who move very speedily. 

Your product could become obsolete almost overnight, especially in the tech world, so timing is extremely important. One way to ensure quick speed to market without sacrificing quality is to partner with experienced companies offering design services.

Adam Richards

About Adam Richards

Adam Richards is a semi-retired business professional originally from Bangor, Maine. He spent the majority of his career in sales and marketing where he rose to the marketing lead of a Fortune 1000 company. He then moved on to helping people as a career counselor that specifically helped bring families to self-sufficiency through finding them rewarding careers. He has now returned to Bangor for his retirement and spends his free time writing. This blog will be about everything he learned throughout his career. He'll write on career, workplace, education and technology issues as well as on trends, changes, and advice for the Maine job market and its employers.