Making products is difficult. Making coffee and tea products we think bring something new to the table is even more difficult.
You may have heard the saying “Fail early, fail fast, fail often”. If you’ve spent some time in the design world, that quote has been beaten over your head more times than “Call Me, Maybe”.
And ya, even though it’s an overused motto, it still holds a lot of truth. For us, failing through prototype after prototype before our first Kickstarter product kept us moving at a steady, healthy pace.
Well before the Duo Coffee Steeper campaign dazzled the Kickstarter world, 40 poorly-made-sorry-excuses-for-ideas graced our friends’ kitchens. Each one, exploding coffee grinds everywhere, but also incrementally sharpening our focus towards Duo’s final design.
Our design process involved solely rapid prototyping for over a year
From sketching out ideas, making cardboard cutouts, to 3D printing countless shapes and sizes; we visualized, illustrated and materialized Duo in as many ways as humanly possible.
Here’s why rapid prototyping in all its buzzword glory works:
You find significant problems early
Your brain just doesn’t think of those edge cases where Jane grabs your product in a new way that leads to 4 cups of hot coffee shooting out at her (dammit, Jane).There are countless ways you haven’t thought about using your product. You need a physical manifestation, and other people, to test it out.
You Can Iterate Quickly
Your prototype doesn’t have to win any science fairs. It can look like a kindergartener’s art project. All that matters is you’re getting your ideas out somehow.
Document and Compare
Hey, Remember iteration #33? Of course not. But we have a faint memory of some interesting feature, that other coffee nerds would love.
Ideas may fluctuate in and out of your designs. That’s great, it means you can refresh your thinking over and over. Just make sure you document them so you can come back to that diamond in the rough.
Without a visual representation of Duo, it would of been mighty hard to gain Kickstarter backers. Having some sort of physical representation helped us communicate our ideas with our friends, backers, and investors.
You should never stop user testing. Even once your product has been through manufacturing, think about how you can make it better. We’re just on version one of Duo. Over time, we want to hear as much feedback as possible from fellow coffee lovers, and in turn edit our product to better fit their needs.
It may seem like a long process, but if you’re thinking of making a product or starting a Kickstarter campaign it’s worth it. You better believe we have a designated arts and crafts session once a week. So grab some popsicle sticks and some glue and start making.