The Importance of Listening to Clients and Consumers

Product design doesn’t take place in a vacuum.  The designers aren’t stuck in a windowless room with drafting paper and told to come up with stuff that looks cool.  Interactivity is one of the most important parts of the development process.  Designers have to listen to the people who have asked for the product design…

Product design doesn’t take place in a vacuum.  The designers aren’t stuck in a windowless room with drafting paper and told to come up with stuff that looks cool.  Interactivity is one of the most important parts of the development process.  Designers have to listen to the people who have asked for the product design but also to the people who will eventually buy the product.  It can be a delicate balance with so many voices to adhere to, but the final product will only be better for it.

Hear All, Trust Nothing

While this may sound like cynical advice, it really has to be true.  Not everything that clients and customers tell you is going to be useful or even accurate.  Clients may only have a vague idea of what they want the final product design to look like; they may even give you contradictory information.  On the other hand, customers may not be able to explicitly verbalize what they like or dislike about a product design, but their feedback can still point you in the right direction.  However, none of this is a reason to ignore their input.  Listen to everything that your clients and customers say, but think critically about it.  Don’t take what they say at face value.  Instead, listen to everything that they say, and try to get at the heart of what they really mean.

If that sounds confusing, don’t worry.  Time and experience help all product designers read between the lines to really understand what their clients and customers want.

Listen Constantly

Product design is a process, and it’s important to listen all through that process.  What may have been true in the drafting stage may be completely irrelevant in the prototype phase.  Maintain open lines of communication with your customers and clients on a regular basis, and your product design will only be improved as a result.

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