Dealing with the consumer product design process can feel like you're being pulled in a million different directions. Professional consumer product designers, though, will tell you that you have to impose some order on the process. Here are 6 of the biggest items you'll need to address as you move forward with designing a product.
Making It Machineable
Most products are going to be put through manufacturing processes. Whether the product will be made at your location or a third party's factory, the components have to be designed with an eye toward minimizing machining issues. This means you want to have parts that can be stamped, molded, or cut by machines without creating too many stoppages.
Reducing Parts Counts
Generally, the more parts a product has, the harder and more expensive it will be to manufacture. The goal should always be to get to the minimum number of components per unit that it takes to keep the product useful and desirable to the consumer.
Your consumers are just as important to the design process as your manufacturing is. It's important to think about little things, such as how the product rests in the consumer's hand. If people find a product easy and comfortable to use, they're going to tell others about it.
Regulations, Compliance, and Liability
In the world of consumer product design, it's wise to remember that strict liability applies to everything you sell. If someone loses a finger because a tool snaps back way too fast, the company selling it is going to pay dearly in court.
Likewise, products are often subject to regulatory and compliance regimes, even in the consumer sector. If your product lands outside the legally acceptable specs, you're going to take a huge charge recalling it once the regulators come down on you.
Looks matter. If you look at popular products, there's no question of what their aesthetic is. It's often a very current and modernist design that's meant to scream simplicity to the user. People get that owning a high-end product is a lifestyle choice, and this allows the company to extract a premium from every unit it sells.
Your product is safe, gorgeous, and ergonomic. That's all great, but does the consumer know how to use it? Consumer product designers have to think about how intuitive an item is. Test everything thoroughly, and do revisions. Never depend on a manual to get the point across.
For more information, contact a consumer product designer.