Apalla #17 – Design, Part 2

Today we’re going into the second episode of design, with a few design tips. These are more general pieces of advice to keep in mind, now that we’ve gotten the essentials down in episode one. 

The first tip I hinted at in part one, which is to not require the user to memorize anything. If the user has to memorize something, there’s a chance they’ll forget it — and if they keep forgetting it, they’ll stop using your product. Instead, make it intuitive what they are supposed to do — you can do that by staying within those recognizable objects!

Next, use noise and tactiles to give feedback to the user on what they are doing and if its working. There’s probably plenty of times where you’ve pressed or clicked something, and have nothing happen. Unsure of whether or not it worked, you keep clicking it — only to realize it worked the first time. To avoid this, there needs to be some cue for the user to follow — and the best way to do this is to change the feeling of a different sense.

Our last two tips have to deal with something we briefly mentioned in the last episode: lean design. We already talked about the lean design principle of “shaping up”, but there’s another one called iterative processing. With this, you always want to understand what the users need, and how the users will use it. Do this by conducting user studies, feedback surveys, A/B tests, et cetera. If you’re not at the point where people are using the object, you can also research how previous models were used, and interview/observe users to figure out how the design would be used. For an example of this, Apple originally took cardboard cutouts and took them around with them pretending they were a phone, while designing the original iPhone. This helped them figure out what ideas were essential to the final product, without having a final product to deal with.

That’s all for tips. On our final design episode, we’ll be talking about design hacks — small design heuristics that make your design work a lot easier. See you then! 

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