Product Design is not about designing shapes, it is about designing feelings

By January 25, 2019 No Comments



Hello there, did you try to change some settings of a web app and you couldn’t find that option and you had to look everywhere but you just could not find the stupid option so after a while searching, you felt angry and frustrated and you just hated that application?

That my friend is called bad design and it is called that because it gives a bad feeling.

Good design is a design that makes users happy birds, relaxed and enchanted, a bad design is a design that makes people angry, frustrated with an hug feeling.

I learned from designing products for 9 years, that design is all about feelings. During my first years I thought that good design meant beautiful and attractive shapes displayed on a screen, but esthetic driven design resulted in very bad products and until I understood that design is all about feelings,
I could not build a great product, so I started a new approach called feeling driven design.

Those are the feelings generated by a good design (IT oriented).

  • The feeling of usefulness

This part is the mixture of rationality and feeling.
Your product must represent an added value to the user, either solving one of his problems, or offer him easier more practical ways to do something, like the IPhone, for example.
Your users must think and feel the usefulness of your product, and testing that is quite easy; give your beta users, a carefully selected group, coupons and ask them to distribute those to their friends so they can join the beta testing. If they distribute enough coupons, that means that your product is useful.

  • The feeling of smartness

Surprise your users, and keep them interested. Show them that you thought about the extreme cases and that you provided something smart for them.
For example, the Ford Mustang is a fast car not suited for 18 years old but some parents have 18 years old that will probably drive that car, so Ford added an option to set the maximum speed of the car by the parent to protect their kids.
Another example in the IT world is the “Recommendation” system; you are on Youtube watching a video on how to whistle and up next, Youtube suggest for you another video on how to perform a song whistling. And this my friend is a smart product.
Google search engine with the auto-complete feature is yet another smart design, ect…. People like smartness and like to be surprised in a good way so design your product to be smart and keep them surprised.

  • The feeling of guidance

As soon as your users open your product (web site, web app, mobile app) they must know what to do, and in any giving time they must know what is happening. Starting from there the experience must be fluent and natural.
Your design should eliminate the frustration behind searching for an option, setting or any task. Your product is supposed to help your users perform tasks and win time and not the opposite; so adding tutorials, searching how to do something on Google, clicking or tapping everywhere is anti-guidance and will make you lose users.

Adding a feature/option is not enough, making it easy to use and accessible is the goal. Doing so by running all the scenarios where the user is using the feature/option, and make it visible at the right place according to the user experience.
Of course you can test the guidance by giving your users the app and asking them to perform some complicated tasks while observing their behavior and facial expressions.

  • The feeling of enchantment

Users must be enchanted by using your product. What does it mean to be enchanted by a product? Here’s an example; IPhone users loved IPhone so much that they waited a whole night in front of the Apple Store just to buy the new one.
Google users too, were so enchanted that every one of them changed his preferences of engine to Google.
People are enchanted by stories and fairy tales, so give them a story through your product. Steve Jobs did it so well selling his products, Amazon tells the story of purchasing with a click, Google is telling the story of answering any question that comes to your mind, Youtube is selling the story of finding a video about anything you want, etc.
Enchanting is telling a story, and people love to tell stories to their friends, so that they enchant them and therefore, root for your product, so let your design tell a beautiful tale.
And to test their enchantment level, ask your beta users about their experience using the product and collect their experience, body and facial expressions. If it’s full of positivity that means you’re doing great.

  • The feeling of beauty

At the end your product must be beautifully designed, less complicated and more easily designed. It must be elegant, comfortable to see and relaxing, so avoid using too much colors (no more than 3 different colors and preferably 3 shades of the same), and if you are designing an app, avoid dark backgrounds, useless animations, too much 3D shaped designs (only if they are coherent) and too much text in small places.
Your design should not only be beautiful but it should also be a gateway to generate all the previous feelings. So that the user interface would be designed last as a result of the whole process.

True, it is hard to design the perfect product from the first iteration. So be patient, work closely with your users, try to create multiple versions. Do an alpha and beta testing until you end up with a good design which is essential to your business success.

The world around us is full of bad design my friend, avoid adding another one while you have the advantage of knowledge.