Industrial Design 103: How to know your target consumer intimately?

Update 1: Oops sorry forgot to add. The Industrial Design 101 series are about my adventures of designing, creating, hacking and remodding my own brand of Cool Mp3 players.
I’m not a marketing expert here but when ever I consider a new design I always encourage designers to create “mood” boards or collect pictures that reflect the target consumers that will use or buy our product. Which is in this case our MP3 player concept.
I often don’t waste too much time writing down marketing details, thats the marketing department’s job. Here we just want pictures to give us a healthy understanding on our target consumer and allow us to get into their head to live a day of their life in their shoes.
PC Vs. Mac
Images thanks to lifeclever and FashionistaTV. The additional graphics are mine…
Update 2: Geekette has a cool female version of this fashion set!

Heh-heh, here are a few more to wheat your interests on the people I plan to target:

Thanks Nikita!

Thanks KK+!
Wow this is a great collection of images of my market all nicely done by Ben.
Thanks Ben!
I also like to run a collection of products that our target market will use as well. This completes the picture as it gives us an indication on how our target user lives his life. Really you are what you use.

Notice these guys are technology people, not geeks, but techno-philes. They appreciate design and are savvy enough to subscribe to well designed products (Sony PSP, Palm handheld, Crumpler bag, Jabra headset, Gameboy Micro etc.), even ipod.
Really the point here is that they subscribe to many different kinds of technology products. I also like their use of the old-school pen and note books. This to me means my target market prefers their product as a task specific and focused one. In other words they like to use a particular product that is the best of its category that best completes the task at hand.
Do stay tuned for ID 104: Engineering Functionality and Usability.
Update 3: I love blogging. Wendy Maynard from Kinetic Ideas has written a very cool extension on this discussion on techno-philes in her blog post on “Chic Geeks” here. Thanks Wendy!

  • N Goos

    April 16, 2008 at 2:37 pm Reply

    I think it is just a good habit to dive into the user’s context before actual designing. How does his daily life look like? That’s why I like your pictures of products they use. But why not also use personas and other methods like contextmapping to derive much more information?
    Then I have a question; what do you choose first, your target costumer or your new product? And when do you look for market saturation? Interesting series of articles I will be following it!

  • Design Translator

    September 30, 2006 at 10:42 pm Reply

    Hmm…well the interesting thing is yes they are expensive, but this market still buy them, dispite all the alternatives avaliable which im sure they know about. Thus they made a choice to buy such products probably because of the design.
    Wheather its the right thing to do its another matter!

  • clueless inspiration

    September 30, 2006 at 12:17 pm Reply

    that’s not a crumpler. it’s a timbuk2.
    Big companies own the technology. Have the $ to do design. Nice end-products with high prices. People want to look good with them. Are they techno-philes? Savvy enough?

  • Design Translator

    September 29, 2006 at 4:26 pm Reply

    Hi Geekette,
    Thanks for stopping by and please do keep in touch!

  • Geekette

    September 29, 2006 at 2:53 pm Reply

    Thank you very much for the link to my “How To Look Like a Mac and a PC – for women”!
    Oh, the photographs of the people’s possessions are very interesting. It gives valuable insight on what people actually use on a regular basis that they will put it into their bags and bring them whenever they go.

  • Design Translator

    September 29, 2006 at 12:16 pm Reply

    Definetly, thats why i love those shots, it gives an often intimate look into people’s lives.
    Great idea, I will definetly look into the synegies my product can create with the other “neighbours”

  • wannapreneur

    September 29, 2006 at 8:53 am Reply

    Interesting idea to literally keep a bagful of stuff that your target market probably has. I’m guessing this helps to design stuff to fit their lifestyle better given the insights it offers.
    Could probably find potential synergies between your new product and the existing stuff they may already?

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