The purpose of a product design specification (PDS) is to get an overview of requirements and criteria that your final solution should live up to in regards to different categories. It will help you gain an overview of the research/learnings you have had and will gain throughout your development phases. It is a great method to use before hosting a workshop as you will have a much more clear vision of what is needed.

Tips to include participants who are not able to:


If you or your participants can not see, the method could be performed orally as long as you either record it or make someone else write it down ensuring that the data will not get lost. It should be saved in a way that is easy to access from time to time.


If you or the participants feel that the PDS is very complex, divide the method in bits. This could either be done by only focusing on one category at a time or only finding requirements or criteria.


If you or your participants are not able to speak the method could be performed so that all communication is done through sign language or everything is communicated through text - if you or the participants can write the discussion could take place on paper.


If you or your participants are not able to hear sign language or communicating through written text could be used.


If you or your participants have a hard time reflecting upon categories, requirements or criteria divide the method in bits making it easier to gain an overview. It can be overwhelming having to create the entire PDS in once, it is perfectly fine to do it in bits.


If you or your participants can not fill in the PDS tabel/excel sheet on a computer a helper, co-facilitator or a documenter could transcribe what you/your participants say. The same applies if you have printed out the PDS template but if you or your participants can not hold onto a pen the same trick applies with using some sort of a helper.


If you or your participants can not control your/their movements a documenter or other participants could lead the pen/write on the tabel/excel sheet on the computer.





Overview of requirements and criteria for your design process.


Moderate - complex




You and your design team


Core abilities:

  • Research
  • Narrow down comprehensive research
  • Reflect on categories
  • Reflect on requirements
  • Reflect on criteria

Step by step:

  1. Define categories that are enabled within your design. These could for instance be:

    • Safety
    • Materials
    • Dimensioning
    • Using factors/intuitivity
    • Durability
    • Color etc.

    The categories will depend on your task why the above are just examples.

  2. Create a matrix that has 4 columns (category, requirement, criteria, comments) and x rows.

  3. Fill in all the categories that you found would apply to your design process.

  4. Fill in requirements for each category. Requirements are things that your design must live up to.

  5. Fill in criteria for each category. Criteria are things that would be nice that your design could live up to but it is not a must.

  6. Fill in comments if you feel the need to further elaborate on either the requirement, criteria or both.

  7. Expand/edit your PDS throughout your design process so it reflects your learnings.

When doing this method you should consider:

As a PDS can be rather large, complex and will change throughout your development phases, as you will have new learnings, it could be an idea to include bits of it in your workshop. You could ask the participants in your workshop to e.g. revice it and come up with new categories, requirements and criteria. You could also ask them to perform a PDS without showing them yours. This could be interesting as it would be nice to see if your participants will create one that is similar to yours or if you would get new insights that you have not thought of.

Materials needed:

  • Table/excel → computer
  • If printed → pens and template