Product Lifecycle: The Perfect Dog Toy

An important concept for UX Designers to grasp is understanding a product’s lifecycle. Generally, there are 4 stages that must be included: 

  1. Research and Data Gathering
  2. Initial Design
  3. Product Development
  4. Release

I designed a model below that represents these four concepts.  

How do we put these phases into action?  

Let’s say, for instance, I want to develop the perfect toy for my dogs. This should be easy, but there are a lot of factors that go into this; I have one dog that loves squeaky toys and another who prefers soft. Secondly, I have to remember that the dog is not the one paying for the product, so this perfect toy has to appeal to the owner who will be buying.  

Step 1: Research and Data Gathering 

I send out surveys and conduct focus groups with my target group: dog owners. I also make sure that I have a wide variety of perspectives. I want owners who have big dogs, small dogs, puppies, senior dogs, multiple breeds, and varying energy levels.  

Step 2: Initial Design 

Now I can begin initial design. I look back at all the data I gathered from research and focus groups and create personas based on information I gathered (pictured below).

Then I create a few initial prototypes on paper, clay models or anything tangible that doesn’t interfere much with costs.  

Step 3: Product Development 

I can create a beta test that looks like a developed product. This is now ready to go out and be tested by a group.  

Step 4: Release 

Prototype with Dog

The “Chewy Ball-o 5000” is released and tested with owners and their dogs. From there I am diligent in collecting as much feedback as possible to develop my product for longevity.  

Being that this model is NOT linear, and more of a circular pattern, I understand that I most likely haven’t created the “perfect” dog toy from start to finish. It is important that I continue to rotate between steps and go back for rework and redesign.  


“Chapter 1: Introduction To User Experience.” Understanding Your Users: a Practical Guide to User Research Methods, by Kathy Baxter et al., Morgan Kaufmann, Elsevier Ltd, 2015, pp. 6–7.

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