In this second espisode for Students of Product design I’m looking at research.
As a student I was often tempted to skip the research phase of a design project and jump straight into sketching concepts, because that was where I felt most comfortable. It wasn’t until I was employed as a product designer that I realised how important product design research is. As I’ve stated in the video, product design is for people, so you have to research their struggles, motivations and desires, otherwise you’ll just end up designing things for yourself. Research improves the quality and outcome of your projects.
Design Research is quite a difficult subject to tackle in a YouTube video and a lot of the time the only way to learn is to simply get out and talk to people, ask questions and develop your communication skills. It’s also important whenever possible that you record your research, so you can review it to see what insight people have given you, to analyse where you can improve and when you’re a student, to prove to your tutor that you haven’t spent the whole time in bed!
Research is the one thing many industrial design students don’t do enough in university. There is often a barrier to it, because students feel they should be spending their time learning other skills like sketching and CAD, for some reason, talking to people requires confidence, which is why students often hide behind surveys put up on forums. If you are confident you can ask people in the street, but if you want to start with something less intimidating, talk to family and friends, or join a discussion club, but don’t ignore doing research, it’s at the core of good product design.
I hope you enjoy Students of Product Design Episode 2, further reading can be found below:
A great resource for design research:
Watch out for leading questions:
If you need responses from professionals and a great resource for all things product design: