Product Review: Needs. Features. Benefits.

One of my favorite products are the headphones I use to listen to music every day. They’re so simple and discrete that one would barely notice them, but in fact, I spent a lot of time seeking out these particular headphones.

Needs:
I have had many pairs of headphones. I usually spend between 20 and 40 dollars on headphones and they tend to last only a few months. I am disappointed by my expenditure and the short lifespan of my purchase.

I need headphones that last longer than 3 months.

Why aren’t they lasting long? It’s not because I lose them or even that i am particularly rough with them. I keep them plugged into my phone nearly all the time. They go in my pocket and in my bag when i’m at work. Why do they break then?

It’s because of the wire bending to many times in the same place. There are certain stress points in all of the headphones I have ever had. The biggest two stress points is right above the plug that goes into my phone and right before the wire splits in two for my earbuds.

I need headphones that won’t break in these two places.

My biggest pet peeve about headphones is the cord that feels sticky and wads up into a big tangle every time i wind them up. Even if i try to do so carefully, they’re always tangled and require a few minutes to untangle them every time. This is really a huge pain for me. Every minute that i’m untangling headphones is a minute that i’m not listening to the podcast I want to hear.

I need headphones that won’t tangle.

I have small earholes. Normal earbuds don’t work well in my ears. I can’t stand apple earbuds and anything that is made of hard plastic ends up hurting after a while.

I need earbuds that are comfortable.

I don’t like to conform. I don’t want something generic. I like to add a bit of character to my belongings. Solid black, or solid white is just boring. I rarely buy anything that is completely plain.

I need headphones that have character.

Features:
The headphones that I chose have features that address each and every one of my needs.

I need headphones that last longer than 3 months.
These headphones have lasted over 1 year of every day use. They are strong and durable.

I need headphones that won’t break in these two places.
These headphones have an L shaped plug at the end that keeps the cable securely bent in one direction as it comes out of my phone or computer. That L shape has prevented the cable from bending in all directions and breaking easily.

Similarly, the earbud junction is encased in hard plastic and does not leave much room for bending in all different directions.

I need headphones that won’t tangle.
These headphones are coated with fabric around the cables. The fabric glides smoothly against itself. They still get tangled, but because they’re slippery, i can give them a shake and they’re 90% untangled. It takes about 20 seconds to untangle them now, as opposed to minutes before.

I need earbuds that are comfortable.
These earbuds came with three sizes of rubber inserts for different ear sizes. I chose the smallest size and they fit great!

I need headphones that have character.
These headphones are made of wood, have a green metal band around the earbud and have bright green rubber inserts for my ears. The cable is Rasta themed (they are House of Marley Brand) and is black with flecks of red, green and yellow. Multiple people have commented on them. They have a bit of personality that I like.

Benefits:

The features of these headphones benefit me directly. I chose them specifically for the benefits they would provide.

I need headphones that last longer than 3 months.
These headphones have lasted over 1 year of every day use. They are strong and durable.

Cost effective: these headphones are worth the money that I spent on them. Unless I lose them, they’ll keep performing well.

I need headphones that won’t break in these two places.
These headphones have an L shaped plug at the end that keeps the cable securely bent in one direction as it comes out of my phone or computer. That L shape has prevented the cable from bending in all directions and breaking easily.

Similarly, the earbud junction is encased in hard plastic and does not leave much room for bending in all different directions.

Well designed: It’s obvious that someone understood the problem I was having and created a product that solved it. This plug configuration is comfortable, not just for saving the cable, but also for plugging into a laptop that you use while sitting cross-legged. It doesn’t fall out or bend awkwardly.

I need headphones that won’t tangle.
These headphones are coated with fabric around the cables. The fabric glides smoothly against itself. They still get tangled, but because they’re slippery, i can give them a shake and they’re 90% untangled. It takes about 20 seconds to untangle them now, as opposed to minutes before.

I spend way less time every day untangling my headphones. More time to listen!

I need earbuds that are comfortable.
These earbuds came with three sizes of rubber inserts for different ear sizes. I chose the smallest size and they fit great!

I can wear these earbuds all day. Which is great for me in a noisy office environment.

I need headphones that have character.
These headphones are made of wood, have a green metal band around the earbud and have bright green rubber inserts for my ears. The cable is Rasta themed (they are Marley Brand) and is black with flecks of red, green and yellow. Multiple people have commented on them. They have a bit of personality that I like.

I receive attention and recognition for possessing something that expresses my quirkiness. I make connections with others and gain social acceptance among those who appreciate things that I do.

So there you have it. Even a simple pair of headphones requires this extensive analysis and understanding in order to make a product that provides significant value to the end user. Check out my previous blog post about how to apply Needs. Features. Benefits. analysis to your product or idea.

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About calliewheeler

Callie is an enthusiastic proponent of user centered design and usability research and discovery. Her passions lie in social entrepreneurship and experience design.

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