top of page

Designing Desirable Products: It’s Not Luck, It’s Strategy

Can you remember being drawn to and fantasizing over a specific product, but just can't quite put your finger on what exactly made it so enticing? Worst yet, do you lack a repeatable process to consistently build this type of desire into your own products?

A desirable product draws your customer in for a closer look, taps into their emotions (whether or not they realize it) and then leaves a lasting impression in their memory bank. A desirable product stands out from the crowd and connects with your customer on an emotional level. But how do we form this emotional connection? Is it luck? No, it’s strategy.

Desire is subjective; therefore, we must study the subject. Since it is your customer who decides (sometimes subconsciously) if your product is desirable, it is your customer who we must center our process on. Remember, desire is personal and therefore specific to your particular user. What a 22-year-old longboarder from San Diego is drawn to could be considered silly to a 62-year-old grandmother from Maine.

A desirable product fulfills a true need, possesses an enticing aesthetic, and delivers a delightful experience for your target user.

To discuss these three criteria, let’s study this highly desired product: the sprinkled donut float

Fulfills a True Need

Is a pool float a necessity? No, but it does float a person on the surface of a pool so that they can relax and socialize with friends during a pool party... precisely what its target user wants to do.

Possesses an Enticing Aesthetic

The target consumer for this donut float is a young middle-class adult between the ages of 18 & 34. This aesthetic is enticing to them because it is in tune with their interests. This demographic thrives for Instagram-worthy moments and enjoys creative expressions of their individual personality in a social setting. This donut float fills a pool with delight in the same way that emojis fill a chat with amusement. Fashioning this float after a sprinkled donut is clever, fun, and sociable.

Delivers a Delightful Experience

Do you remember the days of floating on tractor tire inner tubes? Before laying on it, you had to splash water onto it, until its scolding hot black surface was cool enough to not sear your flesh. OK, now you’re ready to lie back and relax. Just don’t brush against that protruding nozzle! Ouch. The old school tubes delivered an awful user experience, one to be remembered… and avoided.

The donut float on the other hand, while seemingly simple, delivers a delightful user experience. It’s soft, cool, lightweight material functions appropriately and a flush nozzle holds the air in tight, while never posing a threat to your skin. Should the donut float have an unfavorable feature, or worse yet fail to do its job (float!), the user will take note and fall out of love with the product.

These three criteria can be visualized as the three legs of a stool. With just one missing, the stool tips over. The product gets better with each leg, but does not reach a state of desire until all three are intact. By rooting your efforts in deeply understanding your user, you can satisfy your customer’s desires through design.


Like what you see?

Receive an email once a month
showing the process behind one of
our innovation projects

bottom of page