What qualifies as a good product?

Everyone has almost certainly come across a good product sometime in their life, but it is likely that everyone has also come across a product that could be deemed as bad. But what or who ultimately determines whether a product is good or bad?

What does “a good product” actually mean?

The question “is this a good product” is one of the most essential questions that is being pondered around product development, even though the question is rarely said out loud. It is obvious that everyone wants to have a good product, no matter whether you are the product designer, the product company or the end user of the product. But what does “a good product” actually mean?

The answer depends partially on whose perspective the matter is being examined from. The product designer, the product company and the end user have a number of different criteria that have an effect on their evaluation of the product, but there is one common criterion: “Does the product meet the needs it was made for?” 

The product must meet the requirements and expectations set for it

When an idea develops into a finished product after several stages, meeting the needs is a common thread on a product’s journey from the designer to the end user of the product. The requirements and expectations can change during a product’s journey, but they still remain there to some extent:

  • The designer wants the product to meet its requirements so that the client company is satisfied with the product and gets what they want and need.
  • The product company wants the product to meet the end user’s needs and desires. Since the business activity of the product company is based on selling products and making a profit, cost-efficiency is one of the most essential factors when evaluating the product’s quality from the product company’s point of view.
  • The end user of the product wants the product to meet the need for which it was purchased.

Brand and image have an influence

It is not always a clear and completely logical thing to define the needs of the end user, as the brand value of the product also has an influence on what the end user wants and feels they need. Even if a person is purchasing a car to essentially get from point A to point B, the brand or the colour are still not completely irrelevant. The brand and the colour are irrelevant if we are solely thinking about meeting the most important need, which is travel. Purchasing a car is a good example of how a brand’s image can influence the purchase decision and the evaluation of a product’s quality. Some people may have a strong opinion about a particular car brand being good and reliable, while others may think that this particular car brand is bad.

In some cases, such things that go against “logical thinking” may weigh more heavily than others. Due to this, during the product development project, it is worth considering who the product is designed for, what kind of images and ideas are being created, and how they fit in together with the appearance and physical characteristics of the product.

Successful design work determines the final direction of the product

As a designer, there can be some uncertainty in determining if the product meets the end user’s needs because the designer might not see the finished product after the product development project. To ensure a good product at the end of the product development project, it is important to define the primary data precisely at the beginning of the project to make sure that the end result meets the need.

As product development professionals, our tools and approach have been shaped in such a way that close collaboration with the customer, especially at the beginning of the project, enables us to gather enough accurate primary data. Framework conditions and guidelines can be set for the entire design work with the help of primary data, allowing the product to develop in the desired direction early on in the project. This usually speeds up the process of turning the product into a finished product, because there is no need for modifications during the process and the likelihood of technical challenges and problems in manufacturing and assembly is reduced. Successful design work results in an end result that is pleasing to all parties involved, i.e. a good product.

Even though everyone has different requirements and expectations for a product, deriving from different perspectives, everyone’s way of evaluating a product is essentially the same or at least similar: If the product meets all the requirements and expectations set for it, then is it not a good product?

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