Consumer Product Strategy Design
Often, when developing a consumer product, the strategy to execute a successful device is just as important as engineering and design. At Speck Design, our Design Strategists work with you and our team to consider all variables that will go into what may affect the outcome of the design process. We work to identify product features you desire and weigh those against a cost-benefit analysis of implementing those features into the product. Our Design strategist works to keep the project's focus at all times on serving the user experience.
Ethnographic and Consumer Research
At Speck Design, we take a unique and unparalleled approach to consumer product design. We believe high-quality, user-centric product design cornerstones start with comprehensive consumer and market research. With our innovative, user-focused approach, our designers and engineers focus strictly on the consumer's needs and how every product we help you create provides a much-needed solution that simplifies their lives.
Your engineering and design team will work in tandem to create industrial design and early engineering feasibility. The method can move through the steps faster than doing things sequentially by working as an integrated team. Once your design team understands your product vision, brand attributes, and users, they will create experience principles to guide your design. Once the design principles are established, the team will develop a range of concepts looking at user interaction and technical requirements to create the look and feel of your product. Depending on the technical challenge, there may be some early engineering needed. The engineering team may build several prototypes to validate various technical challenges using multiple materials to rapidly make what called Proof of Concept (POC) is. These models prove that the product will work. These prototypes are primarily mechanical with limited software and are made out of various off-the-shelf and rapid prototype parts. The purpose is to rapidly validate the concepts and focus on a limited feature set.
Medical Device Development and Verification
Medical devices are unique and, in some ways challenging for engineering firms. Developing them requires extensive experience in electrical engineering, industrial engineering, mechanical engineering, and industrial design. However, they also need a firm understanding and proficiency in user research, human-centered design, prototyping, road mapping, and regulatory certification. Speck Design has decades of experience developing medical products for various uses such as drug delivery devices, handheld surgical devices, patient monitoring devices, home health care devices, and diagnostic medical devices.
This means our teams of engineers and industrial designers can identify and solve issues early on. It also means we understand the human aspects that must be applied when developing medical products. Finally, our team is prepared to develop medical devices to be verified in compliance and certification (including FDA certification).
This is where the concepts generated will be refined. Besides the form (and engineering validation if needed), this is when Color, Material, and Finish (CMF) are applied to the design. The final output may be only renderings to show potential investors. At this point, you may opt to build an Appearance Model - this will look like an actual product but is non-functional. Appearance models can be used for a variety of reasons; for your marketing campaign, to show potential investors, or to do design verification with potential users. These models, while not functional, can be beneficial; products look very different on a screen than they do in your hand. These models can also be used to validate the design with user feedback. This is an excellent place to pause and use the models to get funding. You can now show investors that work has been done to define and prove that the product is viable and that you have put preliminary work to understand your users, test out the technical viability, and produce a design that responds to the users' needs.
This is the first stage where you will have a Functioning Prototype. The engineering team will work out enough of the technical details to create a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). You don't want to refine the design too much quite yet - not until it functions in the way the engineering team has anticipated. During this phase, the team will build a P0 Prototype, often using 3d printing. This prototype is used to make sure the design is ready to move into Product Commercialization and can also be used for limited field testing. Usually, these prototypes will be made using rapid prototype methods combined with readily available technology to create a functional prototype. The design is now at a phase where both the engineering, user experience, and industrial design are solidified and is now ready to move through the stages needed to get it into production. This is also a valid stopping point to attaining funding. The subsequent phases are often the most expensive and need the most business support in terms of Go-to-Market strategy.
Your engineering team will move into refining the engineering and working out the bugs. There will be a number of rounds of prototype builds and refinements before the product is ready for production. Depending on the number of initial products being built, this is when the design would move into tooling.
The product is now ready to move into the manufacturing process. However, this is not as simple as dropping it at the door. Ideally, our team of NPI and Product Fulfillment Managers and your team have picked a manufacturing partner and worked with them to conduct Design for Manufacturing (DFM) reviews. If not, this will need to happen now, and there may need to be another round of engineering, all taking into account lead times. If you need to do compliance testing, this may be done now, or if your products have been refined enough, you may have completed it before you get to this stage. Depending on how complex your design is, manufacturing may be as big a part of the process in terms of time and budget as the product development steps. Depending on your First Customer Ship (FCS) size, your Contract Manufacturer (CM) will refine the assembly and production methods using additive manufacturing to streamline the production. At this point, your design team will step back and be available as the need arises, but they have now completed their work.