The Zock metatarsal injury protector is the latest NPD product to be launched, soon it will be ready to buy online, but how did we go from an idea to the final product? Here is the story …
It all started with a ‘man with a plan’, a client reached out to us wanting to design the next best metatarsal injury prevention product. Coming from a medical background and having incurred the injury himself, he saw that there was a need for this product and so sought help.
In the initial stages of the project it was really important to understand what the product needed to be, what is the main goal? What problem are we trying to solve?
As this product would be in direct contact with the user’s foot, the experience between the user and the product was paramount. It was equally important to make sure the product was not only fit for purpose, but also tailored towards the needs of the end user.
In conjunction with the leading experts in the field of biomechanics and sports science at the ‘University of Central Lancashire’, we trialled and tested numerous forms and materials. A key design feature of the Zock is the surface pattern, this not only adds aesthetical interest but serves a much greater purpose. During the testing period we found that adding the surface texture enhanced the shock absorbing properties of the material, as there was a greater volume of material that could compress under force.
After making further refinements, we felt we were now at the stage where we were confident in the form, chosen material and the user experience of the product.
So how does the Zock work?
The user places the Zock on top of the foot, this is then covered by the user’s sock. One of the unique elements of the Zock is the material it is made from. The flexible yet durable material helps reduce the amount of impact directed onto the user’s foot, when hitting a ball or taking part in a similar exercise, where the user’s foot comes in contact with direct force.
The flexibility of the material also allows it to conform to the user’s foot, not only to guarantee the best fit but making it comfortable for the user to wear. To enhance the user experience further, the Zock shape allows it to target problem areas on both the inside and outside of the foot, when used on either side A or B. For users with smaller feet, the Zock can be cut easily without the need of a specialised tool, a pair of scissors is all you require! The integrated guidelines enable the user to easily resize the Zock.
It’s safe to say that with the Zock simplicity was a driving force behind the design, but often people mistake simple design with unconsidered design. We spent lots of time understanding the user requirements of this product, and although the outcome is simple, it is effective and more importantly it serves its purpose. The Zock has been tested to destruction, and approved that it will significantly reduce impact on the user’s foot.
After successfully designing the Zock, we were also asked to produce the packaging. It was essential to produce a high end brand, as the brand is just as important as the product itself. The packaging of a product is the first thing a user will come in contact with, and so it is important to not only make an impact, but also that the product and the brand are represented effectively. We were keen to create a premium brand style for the Zock, as the surface texture is an integral part of the product, this once a focal yet subtle element on the packaging. The large surface area on the back allowed us highlight the key features and user interaction through graphical elements.