Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Product Management: Simple, easy, obvious

Product should be simple, easy and obvious.
  • Simple so that user understands what problem the product solves
  • Easy so that user can pick up the tool and start using it with little training
  • Obvious so that user can expect how the product is supposed behave
Designing a product that is simple, easy and obvious takes work.  A lot of work.  It takes whole lot more work and iterations to make the product simpler, easier and more obvious.  I come to realize that complexity, difficulty and sophistication are signs of product immaturity.

Source: http://itsbrokenfixit.tumblr.com/

Take the two trashcans for example.  I found the trashcans in a bakery cafe.  One is labeled compostables; the other, recyclables.  Imagine standing in front of them with a paper cup, plastic packaging, paper napkins, paper bag and left over food.  User has to ask questions:
  • What is compostable out of what I am about to throw out?
  • What is recyclable out of what I am about to throw out?
Some perceptive users may notice the photos at the top and bottom.  They may ask additional questions:
  • What do these photos mean?
  • Why, photos show nothing like what I am holding in my hands!
Don't make users think.  Label it left over food.  Label it paper stuff and packaging.  And make it easy to read.  Put labels at the top of trashcans.

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