1) Iterative design
What is the product design?
Product design refers to the term of creating a new product in order to be sold by a business to the customers. The product design process is a set of strategies and activities that are necessary in order to create a product design. The steps of a product design process are:
- Analysis: this first stage involves the finding the solution to the problem, the gathering of needed materials in order to solve the problem such as statistics, questionnaires, and other sources…
- Concept: this stage is where the problem is defined and its conditions become objective.
- Synthesis: Synthesis is offering ideas in order to solve the problem, creating necessary prototypes, and finally evaluating and testing.
Is Product design and development iterative?
Product design is, in fact, iterative, because it revolves around the idea of creating prototypes, testing them, and making necessary changes. It sometimes takes multiples tries and prototypes in order to come up with the final desired product or model. Therefore, by its, nature it is iterative. Iterative designs can be used in any of the three stages of the design process (Analysis or concept or synthesis). They can even be used when the product is already launched in the market.
2) Prototype iteration process and advantages
Prototype iteration process
By its name, the prototype iteration process is a combination of techniques and steps that will lead industrial designers or product engineers to the final product, and here are these steps:
- The very first step in the prototype iteration process is to simply create the first prototype while keeping in the mind the user’s need, the clients’ demands and other important factors.
- The next step is to present this very first model to the testing team whether the test users are part of the design team or simply clients or other people that are interested in the product.
- The third step is to consider any problems or flaws by getting feedback from the test users.
- The fourth step is to simply fix these problems, and creating a new prototype which is supposed to be clear of flaws or any other challenges that the users had with the previous model.
- The final step is to basically repeat all of the previous steps until all of the problems are fixed or the demand and requirements of the clients are satisfied.
So in other words, prototype iteration is similar to a loophole where the industrial designers, product engineers and creators keep in repeating steps in order to reach the final goal.
Prototype iteration advantages
Prototype iteration obviously has a lot of advantages including:
- Due to its rapidity in production, it easily allows industrial designers and product engineers to clear misunderstandings and spot early on problems or potential ones.
- Prototypes may be used as a testing object for the users and clients so that they would send useful feedbacks about the flaws of the prototype in order to be avoided in the final product.
- Prototype iteration gives a confident and clear vision of the work and the product to the design team.
- It provides many opportunities and ways to test their work in order for them to improve the final product performance.
- The team that is using prototype iteration or any other iteration method may gain a considerable amount of experience.
- The design team will have a clear vision of the direction of their work.
3) Reasons why multiple prototypes are necessary
Throughout the years, product engineers and industrial designers have gained experiences and knowledge about designing, manufacturing… and they have come up with important ideas and solutions; one of them is using multiple prototypes and designs in order to come up with the final one. Here are the reasons why this is necessary:
- It is almost impossible to get it right in the first time. By creating multiple designs, it is easier to spot flaw and problems, thus it is easier to come up with a solution in order to improve the final product.
- Even after creating the final product or the final design, it is always good to keep the other prototypes for research and study purposes.
- Each prototype and model can be created for demonstrating purposes. If the final product is supposed to have let’s say 5 activities that it can perform, each prototype can demonstrate one of these five activities.
- Users and consumers can compare the prototypes with each other in order to provide a clear and useful feedback. The feedback is obviously needed by the designers for the next step.
- With multiple designs, designers and creators can easily gather more objective data, especially after getting feedback from users following the demonstration of the porotypes as stated before.
- It can help the team or the company to get started quickly, by spotting the problems early on and finding objective solutions at an early stage, it is safe to say that the launching of the final design or product will be quick and fast.
- The more iterations, the better the final product will be because simply the more chances you get to improve something the better the final result will be. In creating in general and in designing in particular it is important to gather enough data and information in order to perfect the final product.
In conclusion, prototype iteration is extremely important and vital in the success of the company or organization, and in creating a product that will satisfy the customers’ demands and reach their requirements. However, even when the final product has reached its final goal it is not by any means that the design team’s job has ended. In fact, it is only getting started because further improvements and developments are as necessary and important as reaching the final goal. And this can be attended by creating new things or other porotypes and comparing them to the final product.