To the general public, product design may seem easy. After all, it’s just coming up with ideas and drawing some sketches, right? Well, it’s a lot more complicated than that, and it’s important to understand the facts about the product design business, so that you can make an informed decision about the best approach to take in the development of your new product idea.
Fact 1: It’s more than just appearances – Product design is about more than just making the product look cool. It has to take into account the functionality, safety, and legality of the design as well. No matter how interesting a design is, if it doesn’t work, it’s useless. Furthermore, if a design results in potential injury to the consumer or the product handler at the store, then it opens up issues of liability. Legally, the design must also be distinctive and not tread on the rights of other companies. It’s a massive undertaking – much more than sketching and brainstorming.
Fact 2: There’s a lot of trial and error – You might be surprised to learn that screwing up is actually part of the process. In describing his own development process, Thomas Edison said, “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” In many instances, prototypes that fail are often incredibly instructive in designing a final product. Trial and error is an integral part of the process and takes time and effort to do so.
Fact 3: Customer testing is absolutely crucial – Because companies and designers can become very engrossed in the chosen product, they often can’t see how the consumer is going to react to it. This is why product testing is so crucial. It’s important to know what real customers think and how they react to a new design.
Post 3: Going Solar with Solar Magic
Solar energy has become a topic of great concern to environmentalists, engineers, and politicians alike. As renewable energy continues to grow as a desirable market, there’s a continued market for products that will make solar energy more affordable, more efficient, and easier to manage. In 2008, National Semiconductor entered the market with the SolarMagic DC-boost Power Optimizer, and StudioRed was critical to the development of this product.
The Research Process
In order to obtain accurate and useful data, StudioRed conducted significant research into how solar panels were being installed, accessed, and created. Using interviews and questionnaires as well as mapping of the actual solar panels, our design teams were able to create an accurate representation of how solar panels were mounted, where they were placed, how they were accessed, and the methods of installation.
Designing and Engineering
Based on the technical specifications of the solar panels, designers could determine which materials would best stand up to the given environments and still meet the design specifications of markets around the world. Furthermore, there were concerns about wear and tear given the extreme conditions that these devices may have to operate in. Using aluminum housing allowed the product to meet thermal requirements and stay within the weight restrictions.
Utilizing CNC machining centers and short builds, StudioRed was able to manufacture a prototype 3D model that could reflect the actual stresses expected in the final product ensuring that warranty specifications could be met or even exceeded.
By maintaining high standards and utilizing research and prototyping methods, StudioRed was able to craft a product that is able to meet unique environmental needs while still being durable and reliable enough to ensure that it will function within its expected parameters.