Why your product doesn't need to look original

In the startup world, as in life, we’re often told that we should strive for originality. And I understand why. To make your product valuable, you must be offering something new.

This is what we believed when we set out to build a first-of-its-kind at-home fertility treatment at Béa. We thought our original product required an original design. But, we soon realised there was strength in familiarity. Here’s why.

People gravitate towards what they know

As a species, humans can be resistant to change. We gravitate towards the things we know and recognise: be that people or products. So when you’re designing a product, it can be helpful to draw on familiar references to pull customers in.

This is especially true if you’re building a healthtech product, where trust is paramount for success. Familiarity helps customers feel safe and secure using the product. That’s why we designed the cervical cap on the Béa Applicator to look like a menstrual cup. Not only was it functional, but by marrying a recognisable design element with a new solution, the product felt less intimidating.  We could communicate familiarity, comfort and functionality through design.

Familiarity ensures ease of use

If you’re creating a solution to a difficult or emotionally sensitive issue, the priority is to build trust and ensure your product is easy to use.

To do this, it can be helpful to lean into recognisable design elements like colours or shapes which act as non-verbal cues to the user. For example, after the user testing stage, we swapped the sleek removable funnel on the Béa device for a big bright orange one. The bright orange colour (a well-known warning signal) combined with the size of the funnel made it much clearer to users that this part of the device needed to be removed before use. 

The familiar non-verbal signals make a product feel easy to use and helps to create a positive user experience. 

Learning from others will make your product better

Nothing exists in a vacuum. When designing something brand new, there’s still a world of relevant ideas and industry knowledge you can draw on. And your product will be better because of it.

Learn from industry experts and other founders who have gone through a similar process.  Their insights will spark ideas that can inform and inspire your own innovation.

It can be equally helpful to bring sector experts onto the team early on in the design phase. They’ll be able to provide insights based on their past experience.

I also believe that looking to the past can be a great source of inspiration. At Béa, we have reimagined a fertility treatment called Intracervical Insemination (ICI), enabling people to carry out a trusted process with newer, more intuitive and user-friendly tech. Essentially, what allowed us to be so innovative was standing on the shoulders of those who came before.