Idea Eval


Last week we learned about evaluating our ideas.
The three areas we looked at for evaluation were:
**Would anyone actually use/buy this product?<
**Is this an original idea, or has it been on the market for a number of years?
**Is it even physically possible to manufacture this product in the size that it calls for? Are the materials readily available for manufacturing, or is it a total bust?

First and Foremost
Is anyone actually going to buy my product? That's the question you have to ask yourself before you get too invested and attached to the product. Once you do, bias comes out, and that leads to bad design and unhappy designers.

To test the marketability of my 10 ideas, I created a Google Forms Survey in which 58 people responded to.
Each product idea was presented with a picture and description (those pictures can be seen earlier on my blog).
Upon gathering a basic understanding of the concept of the product and how it works and functions, each idea was evaluated in the three basic areas.

From the survey results, the Top 5 ideas were as follows:
1. Solar Powered Window Covering
Lots of people liked this one. Figured I would post the picture showing how many comments I got on this idea. It was nice to be able to read through what people actually thought of this idea.
solar window covering

2. Scented Coaster
I also got lots of feedback from this one, both good and bad. All of the negative feedback was based upon the scent covering up the smell of the drink being "coastered." Which is interesting. I didn't even think about that until someone mentioned it in the comments. If there were multiple scents (ie. peppermint, chocolate, vanilla, etc) it could mix with the smell of the drink to make an even more pleasing smell.

3. New Years Party Bottle Opener
Mixed feedback once again. Generally a good base of comments, but some weird ones stuck out to me. "I don't usually stay up until midnight, therefore not applicable." "Don't need/want"

I was getting opinions, which is good, but most of them though the idea was bad without thinking that someone else might use it, even if they wouldn't. Sounds like the questions being asked need to be changed for the next time I survey people, but now I'm confused as to what to ask. Suggestions?

Update: I realize I didn't ask the exact question I should have. Should have been stated: Can you see yourself or someone you know using this? That might have garnered a few more positive comments.

4. Mini Christmas Tree laptop/mobile phone speakers
Most easily produced (I think), the laptop speakers, shaped like pine trees would be a nice addition to your desk. Could be placed on your mantle to provide heart warming tunes while you sit by the fire and read a book or in the kitchen to listen to carols as mom makes Christmas dinner. Music, decorations, technology.

5. I'm having a very difficult time picking and evaluating idea 5. It's not that I don't have one. All of the feedback I got on the other ideas were so negative towards the actual idea, nothing else can be considered to fit in my "Top" ideas.

Novelity? Nobelity? Novelty.
Are these ideas original, or is the product already on the shelves of some big box store?

1. Solar Powered Window Covering
Here is the 2x2 I created in looking for window mounted solar powered objects.
The light-wall in the top right corner could potentially be a really good product. Incorporate the holiday decorations right into the supported designs that it can project!
IDEA_1 2X2.jpg
Patents for Window Mounted Solar things:
CN 102027183 A
This one has some potential. Maybe combine it with the wallpaper that moves and have a whole system of solar powered window/wall automation.
US 8575877 B2

2. Scented Coasters
IDEA_2 2X2.jpg

Well. Found this here patent. Guess it's a thing already. With no product pictures online though...
US 6695272 B1
and this:

That last one is really odd, but interesting.
Just got some really neat ideas smells and mobile technology. Watch the market in the next couple years for my name on something "smelly..."

3. New Year's Party Champagne Bottle Opener
Didn't find much that incorporated the New Year's aspect into the opening of the bottle. The closest was the flourish and fancifulness that it takes to "be-head" the bottle with a blade.

IDEA_3 2X2.jpg

United States Patent 6637295
That was the first patent that came up regarding champange openers. Now to find one that incorporates New Years...and nope. Got nothing.
Another generic "Sparkling wine bottle opener..."

4. Christmas Tree shaped mobile speakers
There was only one tree speaker out there. All the rest were box shaped with a tree on it, or just a regular speaker that you might have already seen on the shelf at Target or Best Buy.
IDEA_4 2X2.jpg

CN 202551270 U
Mobile Speakers are hot right now. But I don't seem to find anyone making holiday shaped ones. Could be an omen...
US 20130142371 A1

And last, but certainly not least: Feasibility
Are these ideas even physically possible?
This section evaluates the ideas on material and labor costs, size and manufacturing constraints for a large run of products. If I was going to buy the product wholesale to produce a large number of each item (10,000 maybe) the total materials cost would roughly be close to these stated prices.

1. Solar Powered Window Covering
The average price that people were willing to pay for a product of this type is about $20 with exceptions of 3 people saying $50 or $60 and two people saying $150.
(Thanks 3M for providing me with most of this already. When I was there, I saw a flexible Solar Panel)
Mount a panel on the window and put a screen type backing.
*Solar Panels
*Flexible backing

2. Scented Coasters
The average price that people were willing to pay for a product of this type is about $4-5 with a set costing around $15 for 4 coasters. One person made sure to emphasize that if made out of ceramic, $10 but if cardboard, well then $1.
*Cork or Fabric (depending on the type of coaster)
*Embroidery or screen printing
*Possibly ceramic?

3. New Year's Party bottle opener
The average price that people were willing to pay for a product of this type is about $32.
Most were at the $25 price point, while others were at the $50 price point, which raised the average. Only one person set a max of $100. The lowest was $13.
*Corkscrew (if wine bottle)= stainless steel
*Wedge opener (if beer bottle) = stainless steel
*Pincers/pliers to pull champagne cork =stainless steel

Could you just slice off the cork? Open the bottle quicker (not exactly safer) for someone that doesn't want to cut it themselves.

4. Christmas tree mobile speakers
The average price that people were willing to pay for a product of this type is about $12-$17 while one said up to $50 depending on sound quality.
Very feasible to produce and manufacture:
Speakers have basically been perfected. So many companies make them.
Just create a simple housing for a small mobile speaker. Mount that tree-like housing on the outside and voila.
*ABS Plastic
*Faux pine needles?


Stepping away from evaluation a little, would just like to say one thing that is very interesting and shows what has happened to the culture in America.
I'm not bashing or pushing any religion here. Just stating my confusion. That is all.

Here is the feedback I got from the Laptop Pop-up Nativity set

And cue the confusion
Yes, you did read that graph correctly. 58 out of 58 people said they do celebrate Christmas. I'll leave the computing up to you.

This survey also goes to show that the best drawn ideas are always the ones that seem like the best ideas, even if the actually product sucks. And the good ideas that are drawn poorly, to the general public (note: not trained product designers) don't get any recognition for their novelty or cool-ness.
Therefore, that is definitely my fault. I need to make sure the Ideas are drawn extremely clearly, or just don't incorporate the picture. Which brings up a question for my comment-ors, so please answer! Can you evaluate the ideas, and have good responses on just descriptions alone? Would that provide for more imaginary feedback and stop any bias towards poorly drawn products? I feel that all of my bad feedback might have been just because I should have taken more time in my re-drawing process.


Expect a lot more mixed feedback that you would originally expect. An anonymous survey is just that. People can answer how they really feel and not feel guilty. When you sit and observe someone evaluate a product right under your nose, they will always be more accepting of a product.

At the same time, don't post your survey on Facebook. Half the people that answer are not going to take the comment section as serious as you would hope.


To be honest I wish you would have posted this blog post a week early so that I could have learned from what you had experienced in this assignment. First off what did you use to get so many responses? The anonymous strategy and survey methods garnered a lot more comments, feedback, and probably more prices then my meager Facebook survey so good work! That being said for me to really give feedback on how to conduct surveys, you should give a few examples of the pictures and descriptions of the ideas you used for the survey. I experienced a similar problem that you did and struggled with the same doubt "did I receive such low prices because my drawings were lacking?" What I learned was that if you cannot briefly describe the essence of your product in a few sentences than I think the feedback is going to be worse. Maybe a better method is to look at how Amazon does things. A brief description of the product and then a more detailed section further describing said product along with pictures. As for the quality of these pictures they could in fact have an influence. I guess if we want to narrow down ideas we should probably get all of our ideas presented on an even level, whether that be quality of the sketches, or how many there are.

In sketching Barry mentioned the quality of the image has to look good to be perceived as good, but does the design necessarily need to be good? If its an idea perhaps the goal is just to get people thinking and visualizing the object, the specific aesthetic can be figured out later after the idea is certified. In fact maybe less detail is better because it allows people to imagine it the way they would like to see it. For very early stages like this too fancy is a distraction, just capture the essence of the idea and let the people fill in the rest.

then again my some style is important. I'm on the fence.

I felt like a lot of the low prices I received for some of my objects were due to a lot of my sketches not being much further developed than what I made the previous week (for most). Instead I had focused on describing my ideas, which maybe didn't help much because the quality of most my visuals were poor. It's possible my top object was picked because it was the best drawn or maybe that's just coincidence.

The point is that we learned the guidelines for doing these sorts of marketability tests, for a real object next time you will be able to devote more time to the rendering and defining the object, so don't beat yourself over the head for this one.

Hey Ross! I just want to start by saying you lost The Game, just to get that out of the way (Ignore that part Barry or Cory, whoever is grading this).

First of all, I love your blog. This is the first blog I have seen so far that has a dark theme, it is very easy on the eyes and makes it look so professional. However, that just makes the white-background images you posted stand out and appear almost hard on the eyes. If you could match their background to your blog, that would look amazing.

Also, I know it is not that big a deal, but it is a bit hard to read the chart you posted with all of the feedback. I can zoom my browser in to see more, but for some reason I can't click to view a full res image like I usually can, though that very well may be blog.lib.umn's fault, not yours. It might have helped to just put the critique as text though. That way people could click on the link that person sent, search for keywords, etc.

I love the overall design of your 2x2's, though you didn't include prices in them (that's okay though, I forgot that too). Also, it might be nice to cut out some of your images which have white borders so there isn't just a white square cutting into an adjacent image. Overall, though, I love your organization and your style. This is the most visually pleasing blog I have seen here. All pertinent information is very clearly laid out and easy to find.

I think you have some very good product ideas. Personally I don't see any of them over $25 dollars at market. I think with the solar power you'd be able to ask a little bit more, but by my understanding of the product it doesn't have the good samaritan aspect of energy saving that is the reason solar power can usually bring higher prices. Personally if I were reviewing the products I'd say pursue the solar power wall decorations and the scented coasters. The speakers have a small range of use time within the year and people (read: me) see speakers as an investment. And for the bottle opener, it is such a saturated market. Maybe not the holiday openers, but in general, and I don't see many people spending money to buy a bottle opener for a specific day.

I like the post, put in some good work. I look forward to seeing which idea you follow through with for Tuesday.

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This page contains a single entry by neuma278 published on December 2, 2013 10:17 AM.

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