How many of us buy something new and read the entire user manual before start using it. I won’t even skim through it, I believe most of us leave it as it is. We love to do it our way. It’s human to do so because figuring out is what people do. Getting people to figure out what they want is something designers should do.
So, what does this have to do with anything? As a matter of fact, it’s everything. Look around, startups, marketing, products, design whatever. People follow the convention once it’s there. Making a precipitous learning curve for your product is one hell of a risk. Designers shouldn’t take it as granted, it’s not likely the best route. We follow conventions. Just like when Uber became a Billion dollar company, we started following the Uber model. Marketplaces started booming up. It became a convention. Watching silicon valley grow, people started up around the world. Watching Zuckerberg being a billionaire in his twenties, people started thinking that it’s possible. Examples are countless. Just like that, we love following conventions.
How does this affect product marketing?
Take it for granted, startup marketing should also be the same. From Hubspot’s annual projection says three of four marketers around the world prioritize inbound methods. Here’s what we do wrong, we ditch the customs and conventions and follow the new methods. Though it’s not right and it won’t work. I’ve done the same mistake in my career. We won’t be able to make people use it just by inventing something new. Please don’t innovate for the sake of innovation or your boss told you so.
You should be able to learn the fashions followed and make a pivot from the POV you have. Find a unique presentation method, but don’t reinvent with a single click. It takes time and effort. Just reinventing the whole marketing strategy won’t work out well for you. Work around the regular codes, find the pivot point and leave your signature. Start out the curve and travel the unique path from there. In three words, take it slow !!
How does this affect product design?
I love the products I create. I even start using them from the first stage itself, even it’s not complete. Just because I created them doesn’t mean it’s perfect or usable. My mind loves it, just like god created men and he loved it. But what makes you sure your users(or potential users) will love it? There’s no such thing as love at first sight. You’ll be damned if you find the heat map for your product and users breaking every order of usability.
That’s because every user loves the unrestricted ability to roam around. Let them do their will. The user should be able to click without thinking twice. Their intuition should tell them what to do. That’s how you get to the completion of a product design. Every aspect of design should be navigating the user to the right direction. Have you ever wondered why the top tip of a toothpick is somehow not normal? If not, search and find out. Every design you see has something behind the wall !!
How does this affect product usability?
What do we do when we visit a website? Do you really read all the lines and paragraphs or you just look around? I do the latter. I scan them. I don’t read words. I read patterns, I look for the obvious. That’s why the steep learning curve will not be a good thing to follow. Or your design should be that self-explanatory in an exceptional way. Other than that, if you’re not following the crowd you’re doomed.
Have you ever thought why traffic signs are almost same in every corner of the world? Have you every thought why Red is considered danger or something similar. Following the convention makes it easier for the user.
Though you want to be unique, pivot in such a way that the perspective is different. People using your product should be able to find a way themselves around it. Without help or without the user manual. There it is, your success and the unique selling point !!
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