I have been meaning to write a blog on Creating Product People Love for a few weeks now, and am finally getting around to it.  I remember seeing a talk on this very topic several years back, and unfortunately my notes from it got trashed when I accidentally reformatted my laptop (ouch!).  The speaker had a great list of the essential elements that lead to products people love using.

I was sitting on my couch a while back thinking how much I've started to enjoy driving my car--just driving along--and it got me thinking about this topic.  There's something completely relaxing about having a CD playing in the background and cruising down the freeway, not even at excessive speeds necessarily (though that sounds pretty fun to ;-> ).  Somehow associatively, it got me thinking about video games, which also seem to have an equal thrill to them.  In both experiences, you have this immediate sense of control about what's in front of you--whether it be a steering wheel or a joystick.  Video games are even more interesting, because they present challenges to deal with.

Both of these experience I think are telling about a fundamental that underlies all great product design: efficacy.  As humans, we enjoy ourselves the most when we're put in a situation where we can exercise control over what's in front of us.

When I think about the gripes people have with software and computers in general, efficacy seems to be at the bottom of all of them:

  • “Software is too confusing and complex; it makes me feel stupid.”
  • “Why does it crash?”
  • What's with all this fluffy UI?  I want to have access to the source code and get down to the metal on the command line.”

So I think through induction I stumbled upon one of the tennets of creating products people love.

Feel free to chime in if you have any other essentials you think play into the mix.