Designaffairs has identified 21 factors that are important for product design. But using the standard Marketing approach and asking customers which factors they value as most important, the normal result is that all factors are clustered very closely together in their rating. So the questions is how to determine the factors that are unconsciously really driving product decisions.
Instead of asking the customer about what they think is important they turn around and ask them about their existing product. The products performance against the 21 factors is evaluated. They then use a multi-regression analysis to identify the importance of the different factors.
This approach enables them to have a qualified analysis on what factors are important for customers. One example they did was evaluating washing machines in the USA. It turned out that the brand is not an important factor in the purchasing decision. And in the design process the collected information is used to prioritize investment decision.
It was very interesting to see an analytic approach to evaluate customer needs, requirements and preferences. Although this approach is not suited to evaluate innovations because it only works with products already established in the market it sounded like an excellent basis for any design project. With an adaptation of the relevant factors it could also be used for service or digital product design.