Growing up, I was the little kid that wanted to take things apart just to see how they worked (but unfortunately for my mother, I wasn’t so interested in putting those things back together). As I grew older, that curiosity moved toward puzzles and riddles. Then I found THE puzzle. The holy grail that would not only satisfy my curiosity but impress others as well. I found the Rubik Cube.
This simple 3x3 cube toy has fascinated people for years. I needed to know how it worked. After months of playing with it, I finally figured out the solution to solve it (this was before the solution was so easily accessible via the internet). People would see me sitting there solving the cube over and over and be stunned. But, when those people asked how I solved it and I’d explain, they would lose interest. Now, you may be asking, “what does this have to do with product design?” I’ll answer that in a few, but this was the beginning of my journey with product design and user experience.
Product design is about creating something that the user needs/wants and is going to give them an amazing experience. The user is the key to all of it. Taking the time to work on the fine details to make sure that the product is just right, is what sets apart a great product from a good product. When a user sees the amount of effort and time that is given, it provides them a reason to invest in that product.
We all have those products we can’t live without, whether it’s an item, app, or website. For me, that product is Spotify. Seventy percent of my day involves music playing. If I need something to help me concentrate and block out distractions, Spotify. If I want to jam out or need to kill time, Spotify. If I need help falling asleep…you get the point. Spotify is a product that brings music to my fingertips, no matter what device I decide to use. I’m invested in it as a user because it allows me to access my music so easily.
Another way to get users invested is when a product is innovative. When a product can keep the user in mind and integrate features the user wasn’t expecting, it creates a magical experience for the user. Take the website D&D Beyond for example (a site for us Dungeons and Dragons geeks). With their Chrome extension, you can use information from their site on multiple virtual tabletop game sites. This feature makes playing games more enjoyable and removes some of the tedious work you deal with at the start of most games.
Overall, product design is a major part of many of the things we interact with in our everyday lives. By understanding the user and their needs, designers can make amazing products that we all love. But what about that Rubik Cube? Well, it taught me two things. One, a product does not need to have a ton of parts to be great. And two, if you make something that requires too many steps, you may turn users away.