The creation of a prototype is a critical part of the design process when developing electronic or technological devices with molded keypads. At some point along the way, the design needs to leave paper and become a 3-D reality so that designers, marketers, distributors, and the like can truly evaluate the concept. The rapid prototyping at SiTech means that your design can be taken from paper to reality in a matter of weeks, much faster than the competition.
Evaluating the Design
Many times, a design or idea that seems great on paper doesn’t fully work as an actual device. Often when a prototype gets produced, the design team realizes problems or flaws in the design of the custom silicone keypads that have to be altered before the next phase of production. Overall, the prototype phase is key and crucial for this reason – we need to have a physical object in hand to evaluate the consumers’ reaction to it.
With a prototype, the team can get a real sense of how it feels and works. How easily could a user hold the device, and can most people reach the custom keypads without problems? To save on production time, a good idea is to design one prototype with multiple layouts of custom keypads. This way, different button layouts can be tested without having to change the overall design.
Marketing is crucial when producing and selling any new item; even the most aesthetically pleasing design in the world would fail without proper advertising. After SiTech quickly develops an effective and efficient prototype, our marketing team can find distributors and generate focus groups to see how consumers respond to it.
From day one, marketing should be considered as part of the design process. The device and its custom keypads should be tested early on in the product development stage. You may find that while the designers themselves think the device is ingenious, other consumers think the layout of the molded keypads is too confusing or hard to reach. Distributors and retailers might have concerns about the size and shape of the overall apparatus when they consider shipping and displaying. By considering these potential problems early on, any problems with the custom keypads can be noted and changed.
Tests in Production
The prototype development is a microcosm of how the entire production will work out. If you find any problems in the manufacturing process of custom silicone keypads or other parts, you may have to make some big changes to avoid more of these problems down the road. For instance, you may find that the custom keypads just really don’t work with the shape of your gadget. Designers may realize that there are more efficient ways of making the device as a whole.
Again, this is why developing prototypes is essential. By working problems out in this early stage, the company can save a lot of money. It’s much easier to re-design a couple of prototypes than to realize problems with the custom keypads after thousands of units have been produced and ordered.