Five product design concepts
Simple can be harder than complex
Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains. Steve Jobs removed unnecessary product elements and focused on core functionality. One of the most important concepts he applied to design was simplicity.
Product design concepts
Design is a really loaded word. I don’t know what it means. So we don’t talk a lot about design around here, we just talk about how things work. Most people think it’s about how they look, but it’s about how they work. - Steve Jobs
Five product design concepts I find useful are:
Simplicity. Less is More in Product Design. The best design is the least design. To quote Jony Ive, True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, ‘Yeah, well, of course.’ Where there’s no rational alternative.
First principles thinking. Test underlying assumptions. Ask questions, such as, Do sufficient people have the problem we are trying the address? Scarper (Tetris meets Candy Crush) is a mobile game I’m developing. I believe it’s clean design, simple mechanics and subtle complexity will appeal to a minimum viable audience. An earlier version had thousands of downloads and enthusiastic players.
80/20 Rule. 80% of value derives from 20% of the activity. This common pattern drives focus, simplicity and effectiveness. Focus time and resources on the features with the biggest impact on users.
MVP (Minimum Viable Product). Build the simplest version of the product to share with initial users. The functionality should be very limited, addressing a key aspect of the user problem. The MVP enables us to get an insight on whether our idea delivers value.
User journey. Understand the steps that a user takes when they interact with our product. Help Users See Value Quickly by providing a straight path to value and user nudges. Classify features in terms of how they affect user experience. Every feature needs to deliver greater value than the cognitive load it imposes on users. Progressive disclosure, i.e. hiding or minimising the feature until the user needs to use it, can help.
These concepts help me develop digital products, including apps, websites and analytical tools.
Implementing Great Ideas talk by Steve Jobs
Build the Best Product Features in 5 Steps post by Phil Martin
Help Users Do Things post by Phil Martin
As Jony Ive said, Designing and developing anything of consequence is incredibly challenging. There is beauty when something works and it works intuitively.