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Understanding Product Design Terminology

Making sense of it all



Over the past few months you might have caught our blog series, which focuses on giving you, the client, as many tools as possible, in order to make your product design journey the smoothest and most enjoyable experience possible. This month we turn our focus to understanding product design terminology.

Pain Points in Product Design

To compile these features, we asked ourselves where the pain points lie, for the first-time-product-design-customer, or even for those who’ve been down this road many times before. During this series so far, we’ve discussed how to choose the right design consultancy and how to create a design brief. We’ve considered budgeting and even how to manage expectations throughout the process.

Product Design Terminology – What Does It All Mean?

This time we’re addressing all that lovely product design terminology. What does it all mean and which bits do you really need to concern yourself with? The real answer is, none; the right design consultancy will be able to talk you through what is happening throughout your design journey, without bothering you with industry jargon. However, if you wanted to gen up on your terminology for your own satisfaction, we’ve pulled out some of the key terms you might come across in order to give you the advantage:

1: Augmented Reality

Where digital elements are added to a real-life environment, for example, Pokemon Go, where the characters can be seen with the aid of a Smartphone, in your own environment.

2: DFA

Design for Assembly (DFA) is the term given to designing a product in a way that makes it easy to assemble; for example, designing a product with elements which are easy to bring together, or indeed, has fewer parts, means the timeline and costs will likely be lower.

3: DFM

Design for Manufacturing (DFM) is the term given to designing a product in a way that makes it easy, or possible, to manufacture. DFM allows the designer to uncover any potential or costly issues within the design phase, which is the least costly stage to iron out any problems.

4: Ethnographic Research

A mode of qualitative research achieved by observing or interacting with the subjects of the study in their own environment. In a design context, this technique should allow the designer to get a true understanding of the issues, to create the best solution possible.

5: Extended Reality

Also known as Cross Reality (XR) or Mixed Reality (MR), Extended Reality is a combination of the physical and virtual worlds. Extended Reality applies technology used in virtual and augmented reality, to give the user an experience beyond what could be achieved ordinarily. An example of this would be riding a rollercoaster in your living room.

6: Feasibility Study

This is an essential aspect of the product design journey and must be explored before a product build can commence. The feasibility study explores how the product might work, the potential of the market, analysis of user data, explores build processes, analysis risks, considers costs and establishes timelines for bringing the concept to life.

7: Ideation

Ideation is where ideas and solutions are generated, using techniques such as sketching, prototyping and brainstorming. Ideation considers innovation, development and actualisation of a product.

8: Industry 4.0

Suggested to be the fourth revolution in manufacturing. Previous advances included the adoption of water and steam (1st revolution), electricity (2nd revolution), and later, computerisation (3rd revolution). Industry 4.0 represents the use of data, interconnection and the use of technology to make decisions for manufacturing

9: Intelligent Mobility

The use of technology and innovation to connect people, places and services across all modes of transportation and goods movement. The objective is to make transport more accessible and make journeys better and more efficient, in a more environmentally friendly way.

10: Minimum Viable Product

Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a product with just enough features to satisfy early customers, and to provide feedback for future product development.

11: Rapid Prototyping

Early mock-ups of how the product might look, feel and/or function. This is a great for proof of concept for sign off of a project, or investor perusal. Swiftly being able to create mechanical parts for testing means the product design process can move on quickly, allowing for key learns during the process, ultimately, giving the team a clearer idea of the end product.

12: Requirements Capture

This is a process to determine the features, needs or conditions to meet for a new or altered product or project, taking account of the possible constraints or conflicting requirements of other stakeholders, systems or technologies.

13: UI

UI stands for User Interface; this refers to the visual elements of a product; it’s what the user sees and will likely represent the company brand and hopefully make the user feel good and stick around to use the product.

14: UX

UX stands for User Experience; this is all about how a product works and function, and how it meets the needs of the user. UX should be a seamless, comfortable interaction for the user.

15: Virtual Reality

An immersive experience where you are not concerned with the physical world around you. You are transported through the user of technology, to a whole new environment.

16: Wearable Technology

Smart electronic devices which can be worn by the user in some way. The device will have the ability to send and receive data and serves a practical use to the user, such as monitoring health, or answering the phone.



// Meaning: From con- (“with, together”) +‎ faciō (“do, make”).

// Verb: To make together, prepare, construct, produce, do thouroughly, complete, accomplish, finish, execute.

// Pronunciation: Con - fee - see - o

About Conficio

Make Together

Conficio Product Design is a design consultancy based in Wilton, Wiltshire. Our team of engineers are dedicated to supporting both established corporations and small tech start-ups to develop exciting and bespoke products. Conficio will undertake the detailed components to your design whilst ensuring that your original idea is adhered to, we work with you to realise your goals. We require our clients to be invested in their design to ensure that we can Make Together.

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