HomeProduct DesignDesign Tips99 Design Review Checklist Cheat-Sheet

99 Design Review Checklist Cheat-Sheet

This extensive design review checklist is to be used at the end of the design phase of any product, to avoid potentially sometimes basic or stupid mistakes that may be very costly or defeat the complete project.

It is strongly recommended (and mandatory in some industries) to have a formal Design Review at the end of the design phase. Ideally with experts in all concerned fields, but we also strongly suggest including engineers and designers who were NOT included in the design, to bring their fresh views.

Do challenge what seems obvious or “we always did like that before”

… condition, manufacturing, legal or usage may have changed since!

Many of the following items in the Design Review Checklist may be in your Specifications, to be later checked by your Verification and Validation (V&V) process … but maybe not. This list is trying to be as exhaustive as possible, but obviously not applicable and not complete for all domains and products.

We are including versioning of the list so that you can update your files or process whenever this list is updated. Registered users can also download an MS Excel version at the end of this article.

Design Review Checklist

version 1.0

Regulation
Regulation

Regulation

Yes it’s a must, but complex and continuously evolving

Does the product meet all applicable regulations?

Do you have the latest version of the standard?

Of all forecasted countries? not only the head-office

Also the ones in draft mode currently?

Does the product have all the required labels?

Legal labeling of the product, including materials marking in the molds, but also the packaging and also the instruction for IFU … with all local marking or translation or approvals.

Check our Plastics Design Tricks Collection article for plastic parts markings

Robustness
Robustness

Environmental, Robustness, and Ageing

Frequently a tradeoff between quality, weight, and price …

Advice: be very careful if averaging the use condition to some mean or average, aka “product is on average at 25°C”, or “product is used on average 2h a day” … some users may be continuously at one side of the scale while some others will be continuously at the other extremity, and all these products WILL fail prematurely.

What is its IP code (Ingress Protection Code or Index)?check IP code link for the IPXX table
Will it stand weather corrosion conditions?

96h or 100h (frequent values) salt mist test is frequently not enough for a product that can be close to the seaside (not even mentioning boat conditions)

Is there any dissimilar pair of metals or alloys having different electrode potentials?

Were cleaning chemical agents taken into account? Do you recommend some particular? If so, still some resistance to others? Ex.: polycarbonates (PC), even at big thicknesses, in fact even faster at big thickness if there is a local constraint, can crack within minutes if some solvent (MEK) is applied on its surface.

Does it withstand the cold?

Indicating minimal temp in the IFU may not be enough. Mind involuntary misuses.

Batteries …

Lubricants and sealings becoming harder and losing their performances

Many materials become brittle

Does it withstand the heat?

A phone under the windshield of a car in the summertime will be exposed to much more heat than in the Death Valley …

Also, mind some concentrating/magnifier effect. Ex.: the mirrored windows of some elegant modern New York building with a concave shape was concentrating the sun on the nearby street 😉

Does it withstand UV and sun?

Related but not necessary the same as temperature

Does it withstand aging?

Related but not necessary the same as temperature and UV

Extremely tricky with some plastic and rubber material (Nitrile, EPDM …): it may come back literally to dust in 10-15 years even if well stored, with no constrain, and not exposed to sun or temperature. Or fail in 2-3 years if constraints or tight properties are needed.

Accelerating aging simulations, if not backup with normal aging, is valid only with history or reference.

Plastic additives (color, UV resistance, filler …) can change properties a lot compared to a know reference.

Mind dust or even more sand. Fine not perfectly sealed mechanisms will not survive 5 minutes on the beach.

Does it withstand a drop?

Even if no regulation, a quality product or costly product should withstand typical user misuse.

Ex: dropping a displaceable object from the height of a table could be expected to be “normal”. While a breakage could be understood by the user for a cristal Champaign cup,  maybe less and less for a slippery glass-coated thin phone from hand.

Has MTBF (or another lifetime unit) been defined and evaluated?

See Mean Time Between Failures theory.

Or is this product a High Availability class?

Intellectual Property (IP)

Once the product is out or communicated, it’s too late… so in any Design Review Checklist also if not already too late.

Is any patent already existing (that your product would infringe)?

Can be made knowingly (careful!) … especially if another patent is close to expiring. (for the original owner is the cost of attorney > gain on the remaining period ?)

In all distributed countries?

As your product some aspects that can be patented?

Sometimes seems obvious to the designer, but is not and is novel…

In your field? or in other domains?

Is anyone who contributed listed on the patent?

Colleagues, but external partners also (mandatory to be listed in patent, but that being said they may have already been paid for this)

Same question as above, but applied to the product name and trademark?

Looking at a similar product name in search engines is not always done …. and brings already a lot in no time and no money long before any attorney work.

Have you registered the site name?

And its variants? With “-” or “_” if the name is in several parts? plural, singular variants also?

And various TLDs (net, org ….)?

Milling
Milling

Manufacturability

Manufacturing process, suppliers, their location compared to company and to end customers, and cost should be part of any Design Review Checklist.

It is frequently said that 80% of the product price is already frozen at the design phase. Do not ask the purchasing team to make miracles on suppliers hunting too late.

Best material and process chosen for the part? 
Are the drawings respecting the chosen process?achievable tolerances, possible undercuts or not …
Are the drawings respecting local drawing standards and will they be well understood?

any over-constraint dimension?

units, language if any, type of projection

Tip: values into brackets are typically a source of confusion between countries, so as a way to indicate control dimensions or values to be adjusted in the tool or at production time.

Are the drawings made for a functional quotation or for final manufacturability?

At the design phase, we recommend the first one, but depending on the later process, that may add an additional level of drawing, increasing complexity. This must be evaluated with the manufacturing/supplier on a case by case.

Recyclability

Are the materials recyclable?

Are the materials labeled?

Check our dedicated articles on Recyclability
Is separating the different materials easy (even by breaking them) and visually obvious?

Clips or screws are not the fastest way to dismount a product for recycling. There can be some voluntary fragilities perfect for a pneumatic hammer, but these ones should be made visible (markings) or obvious

Safety
Safety

Safety

Related to standards,  ergonomics, and many aspects

As any risk analyses and xFMEA been performed?Mandatory in some fields, but you may want to conduct one anyway
Including potential misuses?Some say that warning in the IFU may not be enough … long debate
Including diverted usage of the product? 
At all stages of the product, not only its use?Often forgotten. Safe from manufacturing to packaging, to shipping, storage or shelf if applicable, unboxing, usage of course, then recycling?
Ergonomics
Ergonomics

Ergonomics

A field where modern product shines (and is expected)

Any ergonomic study?

Even in industries where this is not mandatory, do at least a test with a non-technical colleague who has never seen that product yet. Be the fly on the wall and observe without any comments his or her first usage, including box opening and IFU reading if any. You can record these usages if the person is OK and does not change his behavior because of this. You should have no hierarchy link with these persons…

Be very careful with quick conclusions like “he/she did not get it right, but the user will”. Your paid customer will likely be very less mindful, patient, and forgiveness than your colleague

Cleanability
Cleanability

Cleanability

Only in some industries (food, medical, some home appliances, kids equipment or toys…). Refer to the dedicated 20 Best Tips to Design for Cleanability article.

Material choice and roughness

beware of sticking or tacking surfaces that may have great ergonomics or look … at the beginning only (rubber, over-molded parts …)

Avoid too deeply molded textures on plastic surfaces.

Are all cleaning means easily available?

(or do you want to sell them as spare parts?)

Special physical tools or cleaning agents/ chemicals, or machinery

Are they listed in an IFU or maintenance manual?

External shapes

no internal angles without radius. If a very clean industry, these radii should be at least the ones of the tools that will be used to clean it (possibly finger radius!)

Same for gaps access: are ll openings big enough to access?

Surface roughness? no textured plastics?

Internal volumes

is volume completely sealed (welded, glued … depending on product and conditions, an o-ring may not be enough over time)?

or at least self-draining?

Final thoughts on design review checklist

We suggest

you complete and maintain live this Design Review Checklist with your specifics,

as we will (check the versioning on the top)

… and maybe share your additions with us in the comments below.

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