Intuition plays a big part in designing products and there’s both natural and trained intuition. Natural intuition influences the addition of handles to products. We naturally feel more comfortable with a product if our five fingers can hold it well without it slipping. Sometimes the intuition is reactive. When it start raining we automatically raise our hands or try to cover our heads.
The best digital products mimic our offline instincts
Trained Intuition on the other hand is reflected in the placement of road markings and other man made directional signs. When I first attempted to drive in London it felt so unnatural because I had to retrain myself. This happens online as well. Whenever you want to Search a website or Close a page in a browser, you instinctively look where? The top right-hand corner. Designers have trained us over the years to get used to this. In my opinion, one of the best ways to build intuitive products is to do at least 90% of the work for the user. Now let’s discuss how to do this in practice with some products that I personally will work on one of these days. The solutions I am suggesting are for the 90% of people in this world who do not have complicated needs. Hard core developers can stop reading now.
1. Website builders
I have been building websites for a while and yet I sometimes don’t understand why it’s so difficult for the average person. Even for most web developers, it’s not easy to see someone’s site and just copy in 5 minutes. WordPress, WIx, Squarespace and Weebly have made a good attempt but they all intentionally or unintentionally have created apps for developers not normal people who have no experience. I speak to frustrated designers and bloggers who want to recreate something they have seen online but have seen online but need to spend hours on it. No website should take more than an hour to set up unless it for a really complicated purpose.
The best products need no Google Search, Customer Support or Manual
The solution is to treat themes like smart fashion designers do. They know most people would buy more clothing if the collection comes in a lookbook instead of individual articles of clothing. From my experience in the fashion world, many people need a fashion when matching colours and clothing.
My website builder will have themes that come with pre-designed layouts for each page. The pages can be live edited and the user can select from up to 5 alternative layouts per page. For example to change the homepage layout from a full page background image to a half page slider, all the user has to do is select that layout. There’ll be no backend, no Html, no CSS. The sequence will be Pick Theme, Pick Layout, Edit and Publish. For those wondering why I am giving away free ideas, who ever said it was free? Lol. In the next post I’ll share on how to build products that are intuitive and require little to no user education.
What would you add or take from this approach to product development?
Some of the best books I’ve read on this topic are The Design of Everyday Things: Revised and Expanded EditionThe Design of Everyday things and Don’t Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd EditionDon’t Make Me Think