Why Understanding User Needs is Essential in Product Design

Do You Understand User Needs?

Understanding user needs is crucial to every business. If you don’t know your clients and what they need, there’s a high chance your product or service will flop.

According to Harvard Business School, 95% of new products fail. There’s a high probability that the majority of these didn’t perfect the art of user research. If you manage to get user research right, it brings a whole load of benefits to your product design project and drastically increases your chances of success. 

In this article, you’ll learn 6 reasons why you need to understand user needs before launching a new product. 

How to Understand User Needs

User research should be the first step in any product design process. In fact, it’s where most product design ideas should come from. Essentially, you want to learn everything you can about your target audience, including behaviors, preferences, needs, challenges, and more.

But how can you discover this personal information?

  • Surveys
  • Interviews
  • Focus Groups
  • Field Studies
  • Polls 

You should be understanding users’ needs throughout the product design process, particularly when prototyping. Types of research you can use to refine your product design include: 

  • User Testing & Interviews
  • Expert Reviews

Additionally, wherever possible, you should conduct primary market research.

Benefits of Understanding User Needs

It Guides Product Design Ideas by Identifying Needs & Problems

The most successful products solve problems. Often, these problems users didn’t even know they had. Rarely does a winning product idea come from a lightbulb moment. Usually, they’re backed by in-depth product design research that validates an idea with data.

Once you’ve pinpointed a problem users are facing, it becomes much easier to think of product design ideas they will actually buy.

It Lets You Know What Users Like & Dislike

Product design research isn’t all about finding a problem and solving it. You also need to uncover what users like and dislike – this can make or break product design. 

For example, you might uncover data that suggests the majority of your target consumers prioritize sustainability as a personal value, meaning you’ll want to use materials and packaging that is reusable or recyclable and doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.

It Saves Time & Money

Every product design project is budget and time-restricted. If you overspend on endless prototype iterations or spend too much time tweaking your idea, you’ll never be profitable, and someone else might beat you to market.

Conducting research early in the process enables you to remove multiple steps later down the line, making your project more efficient on all fronts. 

It Empowers You to Make Informed Decisions

Product design market research enables you to provide reasons for the decisions you make. It removes your and your team’s personal preferences, enabling you to focus solely on creating products your customers want.

Too often, people get clouded by their own judgments and opinions. However, if your target audience is females 18-30 years old, your 60-year-old male boss’s opinion doesn’t  matter.

It Allows You to Refine Your Design

Conducting user research during the prototyping and build iterations stages is crucial. At this point, you’ve already validated your idea. You know that consumers would buy your product – but only if you get the design right. 

Getting feedback from consumers and understanding user needs enables you to tweak your product design. It could be simplifying it, adding a feature, or changing the color.

Instead of going to market with an imperfect product, you’re given the insights you need to produce the exact product and experience your target audience wants. 

It Can Help With Competitor Research

During user research, you’ll be able to uncover what consumers think about your competitors. This information will tell you what customers like about their products, what they’d change, and even opinions about their brand.

With this information, you’ll be able to cherry-pick the popular features and find a way of improving or removing things that cause consumers problems. 

In Summary: Why You Have to Understand User Needs

User needs should be at the forefront of a product designer’s mind throughout the design process. Conducting thorough user needs research instantly uplifts the chances of your creating a successful product on time and within budget.

Get in touch today for assistance with product design market research, understanding user needs, and creating winning products.

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