Asking the Right Questions Leads to Value-Added Solutions
A fundamental part of the WhiteBoard product development process is the “discovery & definition” phase. During this time, the WhiteBoard team partners with the client to identify and understand all the realities that need to be considered in order for the product to be successful (see "Form Follows Reality" below). When Ecowater, a leading OEM of water softeners, needed a new design for a key customer, the WhiteBoard team started by asking a lot of questions.
Ecowater’s priority was a design that would be stylish and modern in appearance. This was accomplished by looking for inspiration outside of the product’s otherwise utilitarian category. Additionally, through the discovery & definition process, the team saw further opportunities to make improvements to the function of the product.
First, the opening was lowered to make it easier to load the salt. Next, the brine tank was tapered so that the product could nest, saving storage space during shipping and storage. Finally, the design was streamlined to reduce the number of parts and simplify assembly.
The result is a modern looking water softener that is easier for the consumer to use and more efficient for Ecowater to manufacture, successfully sold through a leading national retailer. Consumer feedback has been very positive and the new design has resulted in a significant increase in sales.