8 Tips to Keep Your Customer in Mind When Designing Tech

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Consumers crave tech. But they’re only interested in technologies that are built with them in mind. Think about it: How much would you spend on something that doesn’t meet your needs? If you answered “nothing,” you and your customers are on the same page.

No technology is one-size-fits-all. If you want your customers to open their wallets, you have to tailor your solution to them. Here’s how to do it:

1. Do Your Homework

Before you begin the design process, you need to research your audience. Look into the market you’re approaching, home in on a target demographic, and reach out to them using surveys or focus groups.

Why is it so important to involve your customers? Because you can’t guess at what they want. They’ll tell you, and it’s up to you to give it to them in a profitable, prompt way.

2. Focus on Needs

Vehicles were designed to get us around. Cell phones help us communicate quickly and easily. Approach your tech product the same way: What problem are your customers experiencing? How can your product help them solve it faster and more efficiently than what else is on the market?

If in doubt, go back to your customers: How painful is their need? How much might they be willing to pay to solve it?

3. Think About Usage

It’s easy to work a piece of tech that you’ve built yourself. It’s a lot tougher to navigate one that you’re unfamiliar with.

Your average customer doesn’t have a degree in information technology. Design for your least knowledgeable user. What can you do to make their experience easier? How can you build a product that meets their needs without tons of unnecessary features?

A good example is a phone for kids. Teens want the look of a smartphone, but they don’t need all of the features adults do. Calling and texting capabilities matter, but many apps are neither necessary nor safe for underage users.

4. Consider Edge Cases

Some users have unique situations that keep them from using tech the way others do. Limited eyesight, hearing, or mobility require adaptations that must be accounted for during the development process.

For example, app developers can add settings to offer larger text to help those with poor eyesight. A read-out-loud feature could lend a hand to those who have hearing challenges. And if your tech will be available in other countries, be sure to include a translation feature to overcome language barriers.

5. Keep Costs in Check

One of the first things any customer will check when browsing for products is the price. No matter how useful or flashy the tech, each customer has a price limit. Designing your tech to fit into the price range of your target consumers is crucial.

Think back to your target audience. Determine how much they would be willing to pay for the tech you’re designing. Use a survey or poll to get a larger sample: Some users will pay more for a product than others. Keep your development costs below that threshold to ensure your product makes a profit.

6. Ensure Longevity

The newest, most up-to-date piece of tech is worthless if it can’t last a week in the hands of the user. Longevity and durability matter just as much as the features your product has. Many people would prefer a product they’re used to than one with the newest gizmos.

Set aside the bells and whistles for a moment. Look at the structure of the tech you’re designing. If it’s software you developed, is it built to last, or will it need constant updates? If it’s hardware, can it handle the wear and tear that comes from constant use?

7. Put Together a Service Team

Preventing issues in the first place is always the best strategy. With that said, no product is perfect. Taking care of your customer after their purchase helps foster long-term relationships with your company. To that, you need a stellar service team. Frustrated customers don’t come back, so it’s important that you put things right.

Ask your service staff to put together a FAQ page to help customers with recurring issues. Use a web chat widget to make it easy for customers to reach you through your site. Social media service options are also popular, especially with younger audiences.

8. Invest in Product Testing

Once you’ve got a minimum viable product, put it through the wringer. Turn to product testers to work out the kinks before your product’s launch date. Not all test feedback will be positive, and that’s OK. In fact, negative feedback is more useful for perfecting your product.

Allowing customers to test drive your new tech is another smart strategy. Not only will they find things for you to fix, but doing so helps you build trust. Your buyer knows their needs best.

Keeping your customer close is always a good product development strategy. When in doubt, reach out. Your customers will be happy to help.

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