There are lots of ways to define a “disappointing product.” But there are few things more frustrating than a product’s design that breaks or wears out sooner than you expect. From the consumer’s perspective, the purchase begins to feel like a trick.
This is an important fact for product designers to keep in mind. The right material makes or breaks customer satisfaction of a product, regardless of how innovative or interesting the product design and theory appears on paper. Identifying materials that can withstand erosion or demonstrate high-tensile strength is important because performance is an integral part of the customer experience.
The Problem With Disposable Product Design
All of our homes contain at least a few disappointing products. So clearly, they manage to grab people’s attention and motivate a purchase. But very few of these products or the brands that push them manage to sell disappointing products on a sustainable basis.
Success in sales is all about repeat business. But when consumers buy products that fall short of expectations, they have a powerful incentive to seek out a competitor the next time. A hefty marketing budget might lead to a spike in sales, but once again, consumers will be disappointed with the product itself. Eventually, no amount of advertising can overcome the negative image the product or brand has earned for itself.
The good news is that the opposite scenario is just as true. When consumers find products that are truly innovative and built to last, they’re eager to buy another, give a gift, or tell a friend. Products that blend creativity with quality stand out in saturated markets filled with copycat designs. Consumers are curious to try it the first time and eager to come back for more.
How to Avoid a Disappointing Product
No designer sets out to create something that’s boring and broken. But the demands of budgets and schedules mean that not every idea on the drawing board is a perfect one. To keep these designs out of production, use these steps to ensure your products perform as well as the consumer expects:
Define what perfect performance means.
Most products are designed to look great right out of the box. But once they’re put to use, they start to fade, wear, tear, bend, break, and more. Designers must focus on the long-term impression a product makes, not just the first one. Defining goals for the longevity and durability of a product keeps performance top of mind during the design process.
- Put yourself in the consumer’s shoes. The core functionality of a product is only part of the user experience. Everything from the texture to the color to the weight of it also affects how satisfying that product is. When designers only focus on what a product is supposed to do, they lose sight of how people actually interact with it. That inevitably leads to disappointing designs.
- Consider different material options.Designers often select materials based on precedent rather than performance. There are tons of products made of plastic simply because it’s a cheap and easy material, not because it’s the best option for the design. What is EVA material? How durable does the product need to be? Alternative options should always be considered, especially when they have the potential to enhance performance and customer satisfaction at the same time.
- Design with the brand in mind.As designers, it can be tempting to conclude that even though one design is disappointing, the next one will be much better. But every product that a brand puts out contributes to its reputation. And once a logo becomes synonymous with underwhelming products, it’s hard to attract any enthusiastic consumers. Poor design is never a one-time problem.
At PopFoam, we work hard to ensure that our innovative injection-molded EVA foam is used to turn great designs into great products. When a design has rigorous demands for aesthetics, performance, and production, our patented foam product excels. The next time you’re dreaming up a big idea, don’t settle for materials that will just work. Insist on materials that will excite.
Have you read our whitepaper, “The Insider’s Guide to Taking Your Design From Ingenious Idea to High-Quality Product”? Download your free copy today.