User Centered Product Design

With empathy to successful product development

At the beginning of each product design project, the designer must first and foremost deal with the basic needs of the consumer. Here it is not enough to just consider or define the product-specific range of functions or look at future trends. But it is necessary to work out what ultimately leads to the decision to by a certain product via Customer Journey Mapping. A good example would be the product `drilling machine`. A potential drill buyer does not really want to have drill, because it is not pretty or desirable. A drill is usually bulky, dirty and in most cases rarely needed. What this person actually wants is rather the result which he can only achieve with the use of a drill. Often, the potential drill buyer basically wants to express an emotion through a carefully selected picture on the wall – actually nothing more. But obviously the picture can only be hung by drilling a hole and in combination with dowel and screws.

After this realization, the potential customer stands between all the power tools in the hardware store, with the idea of the pictures to be hung on his mind. Ideally, some marketing measures already direct him towards a certain drill. But at this point, the competent work of the product designer take effect and convince the consumer that just this one drill will allow him to attach his pictures safely and precisely to the wall. He also needs to be convinced that his purchase decision is logical and smart, and that he will achieve the best performance with this product. The first touch of the product has to lead to this emotion. After all, what use are the best marketing measures and the highest level of technical innovation of a product, when it has a cheap appearance. An unfortunate choice of the outer materials and an aesthetical unpleasing form could bitterly disappoint a potential customer and he ends up feeling mislead by empty marketing promises. The design of a product is only perceived as good, if it is honest and addresses the needs and wishes of the consumers, because only then it can fulfil their expectations. A customer is only satisfied when he feels understood and has the feeling that he has received a valuable product for little money.

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