We were pleased to report that when we first opened in 2010, in a little over 100 days, Iron Doggy™ sold out of the first 100 Runner’s Choice hands-free dog leashes. In that time, we’ve transformed from fitness buffs into full-fledged product designers (who happen to like to run with their dogs). The transformation turned out to be easier than we imagined. As many of you surely know, designing a killer product has a lot in common with developing six-pack abs.
Design Principle #1: Know Your User
One of the biggest problems with fitness advice is that it’s often written as if everyone’s body type is the same. The truth is, what is stellar advice for a 6′, 165 pound, 30-year-old guy might yield very different results for someone who isn’t so tall, thin, young, and male.
"Know your user” is the founding principle of product design and is why we took so much time to test the design of our first hands-free dog leash. We received plenty of feedback from all of our product testers, but our focus has always been on runners, and their feedback is what drove our product design. We think that you should follow suit. When seeking advice on how to improve your fitness, make sure that advice is targeted to somebody like you.
Design Principle #2: Go with the Simplest Solution First
A sure-fire way to fail at your fitness goals is to convince yourself that you will take on all sorts of inconvenient, demanding, and overly complicated exercises and eating habits. Two days in, you’re discouraged and cheating. Are you that much of a loser? We think not. The problem is that people tend to believe that more extensive and more complicated is bound to be better. We can see it in other running leashes on the market, and many have lots of bells and whistles that you won’t find in our products. Our goal is to develop the simplest solution that meets the needs of runners. We want you to focus on your run and your dog, not your leash. The same is true for fitness training. Before diving into a routine that is difficult to maintain, you might see how things turn out with a slight modification to your diet and training schedule.
Design Principle #3: Put Your Ideas to the Test
The only way to know what strengthens your core is to take an idea and try it. Set a goal, measure where you are now, give your idea a go, and measure the results. If it’s working, awesome. If not, try something else. This is precisely the advice given to product designers. The worst thing you can do is conjure up an idea in your basement and take it directly to market. The likelihood of nailing the design without testing it is pretty slim. We have always taken plenty of time to test our ideas before going to market. We have learned, when we do, we have a well-thought-out product that any dog-running athlete would be proud to own.