Product design process
There are various product design processes and many focus on different aspects. The process shown below, for example, is “The Seven Universal Stages of Creative Problem-Solving,” outlined by Don Koberg and Jim Bagnell. It helps designers formulate their product from ideas. This process is usually completed by a group of people, i.e. industrial designers, field experts (e.g. prospective users), engineers, etc. depending upon the products involved. The process focuses on figuring out what is required, brainstorming possible ideas, creating mock prototypes, and then generating the product. However, that is not the end of the process. At this point, product designers would still need to execute the idea, making it into an actual product and then evaluate its success by seeing if any improvements are necessary.
The product design process has experienced huge leaps in evolution over the last few years with the rise and adoption of 3D printing. New consumer-friendly 3D printers can produce dimensional objects and print upwards with a plastic like substance opposed to traditional printers that spread ink across a page.
The design process follows a guideline involving three main sections:
The latter two sections are often revisited, depending on how often the design needs touch-ups, to improve or to better fit the criteria. This is a continuous loop, where feedback is the main component. To break it down even more, the seven stages specify how the process works. Analysis consists of two stages, concept is only one stage, and synthesis encompasses the other four.
Accept Situation: Here, the designers decide on committing to the project and finding a solution to the problem. They pool their resources into figuring out how to solve the task most efficiently.
Analyze: In this stage, everyone in the team begins research. They gather general and specific materials which will help to figure out how their problem might be solved. This can range from statistics, questionnaires, and articles, among many other sources.
Define: This is where the key issue of the matter is defined. The conditions of the problem become objectives, and restraints on the situation become the parameters within which the new design must be constructed.
Ideate: The designers here brainstorm different ideas, solutions for their design problem. The ideal brainstorming session does not involve any bias or judgment, but instead builds on original ideas.
Select: By now, the designers have narrowed down their ideas to a select few, which can be guaranteed successes and from there they can outline their plan to make the product.
Implement: This is where the prototypes are built, the plan outlined in the previous step is realized and the product starts to become an actual object.
Evaluate: In the last stage, the product is tested, and from there, improvements are made. Although this is the last stage, it does not mean that the process is over. The finished prototype may not work as well as hoped so new ideas need to be brainstormed.