How to design products that resonate with customers

Many of the startups fail because of one reason - Poor market research. Everybody has ideas about creating the next product that will change the world but not everybody asks themselves the question: - "Do people actually need it?", "Does it fix a problem?", "How sustainable it is?" In this blog article we will answer some of those questions and show you the cycle of design thinking that has brought many companies success.

The five steps of Design Thinking

Step 1: Empathize 

One of the first things we all need to do is just go out and talk to people. What they say, think, feel and do when it comes to the problem that we are trying to solve. Look for insights.You have to show genuine empathy to understand them. Ideally, you would pick people from the same subset, let's say the elderly. One of the greatest things about talking to different people and the problems they face is that they also share the solutions with you. Maybe a grandma can't see her grandson because of COVID-19 and they have come up with the solution of video chatting, which may not be optimal and hard to use for the elderly woman but it is a way of bridging the gap between them. That's where you come in and it leads us to our next step

Step 2: Define the problem

Go through the notes you have taken while speaking to the people and notice what verbs they used. This can be very helpful as you can see actually with what activities they are having issues. Take an example of old people who like to go to  the park or to have a cup of coffee with their old friends, they might complain to you that they can hardly go anywhere because they are not fit enough but when you think of it the real problem they face is not the inability to go out but rather the impossibility of socializing. And lastly, create a short problem statement of the problem you have noticed like "Senior people are lonely, they want to stay connected".

Socializing is very important for all people, but especially elderly one where the risk of  detrimental mental effects is high

Step 3: Ideate

Start coming up with as many ideas as possible. Don't think about feasibility, practicality or anything, just try to think of as many things as you can.  Go crazy: Virtual reality for old people, hoverboards for them, modified pushcarts, people to make seniors company, etc. Now when you have generated your ideas go out and see which one connects the most to your problem statement. When you have picked a few ideas that you think will resonate with your target audience you need to reach again to the same people and ask them what they think about your idea. Encourage them to give you as honest feedback as possible and don't take it personally if they say that they don't like your idea.

Step 4: Prototype

Now it's time to think about getting the idea from the sketch board to the real world but you have to think first about a few questions: "How does my idea fit into people's lives?'. "How are they going to use it?", "Is it practical?", "Does it actually fix the problem or it's just a temporary fix?", "What are the benefits and the drawbacks of my product?". Now build your prototype around these questions and you will be ready for the last step

Step 5: Test

Now that you have created a prototype it's time to go out and test it in the real world. Show it to your target audience. Let them use it and provide you with feedback and suggestions. After you have tested it with enough people you have to make a list with what worked and what didn't work. Usually, the first test won't be successful that's why you have to go back to step 4 and repeat until your product solves the problem!

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