What is Product design, can you make a career?

As our human civilisation is growing there is a need for the products of all kinds which needs product design professionals. There is also a huge requirement of up-gradation of existing products. It is the everlasting field. There is a design requirement of products which we do not think we will ever need (I’ll discuss this later in this article).

Hi, I am Prakhar and in this article, I’ll discuss how to start with product design. But first, let’s discuss what product design means as of today.

What is product design?

Product design is the process of designing the product and creating the minimum viable product (MVP). For the industrial designers the definition of product design is different than the software, app or web designers, but the core concept is the same. It would be better to include product engineering and user experience into the product design since they go hand in hand now.

Types of products?

You can categories the products in many different ways but here I am broadly defining into three categories.

1. Physical product

In simple words, everything around you comes under the category of the physical product. All the hardware at your home, everything from kitchen tools to clothing in your closet can be counted as a physical product. For example, chair, bag-pack, coffee mug, water bottle, footwear, are few which can be named from the huge variety of products.

2. Digital product

All the web apps and software comes under this category. Your web editor to your social media, streaming service and your accounting software is a digital product. For example, Autodesk Fusion360 and other CAD tools, Adobe Premiere Pro, Illustrator and other design tools, Youtube, Whatsapp, Saas products are few which can be named from a huge pool of web apps and software.

3. Fusion product

The biggest example of the fusion of physical and digital product is your smartphone, it is a sophisticated hardware design with all the embedded systems,  sensors, power unit and it is powered by the very sophisticated digital product (operating system). All modern technology devices and IoT devices are fusion products.

Why product design?

There are a couple of reasons why we need everlasting product design.

  1. The continuous evolution of civilisation
  2. Continuous up-gradation of quality of life
  3. Enhancement in the working environment of humans
  4. Continuous fulfilment of the opportunity gap for young minds who needs ways of livelihood and purpose

For all the reasons we need to design the products which we may think that we will never need. There was no need for drones or all these apps or space programme for normal consumers/people at that time. But now these are necessities for a lot of pro and normal consumers. There are direct and indirect benefits of all the things created or designed.

Start product design

Now we need to identify what to design and how to design. You can choose what interests you more, physical product design or digital design. The basic principals of design are applicable to all products. The tools for design may vary based on the type of product.

  1. Objective: Define a clear objective of what you want to create a minimal viable product (MVP).
  2. Research: This is the continuous process which you need to do throughout the project. At this stage, you need to collect all the data about your product and get the information of all the resources needed such as time, skills, capital etc.
  3. Concept: At this stage, you can start creating a concept for your product.
  4. Wireframe: Now it is time to create the wireframe of the product and its functions.
  5. Engineer: After wireframing and getting the skeleton ready you need to do all the engineering to make the product functional.
  6. Prototype: Create the prototype to check your design and its basic functions.
  7. Test: Test the prototype and do the necessary changes in the prototype.
  8. Minimum viable product: Make the minimum viable product and test its functionality.
  9. Launch: Polish your MVP and launch it for the beta testing and if needed raise the funds.
  10. Upgrade: Upgrade the product and start adding all the bells and whistles.

Conclusion

In conclusion, you need to know what kind of product design you are interested in and learn the various roles involved in that process.

Choose the skill you passionate about and start learning it. Get involved in the process of product design. Sometimes you need to be involved in all the processes but it depends on how big or small the project is? You can become a specialist or full-stack or you can take the management role as you grow in the field.

Are you interested in product design?

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