Glenn on AnyGeo posted an entry about an InfoWorld reporter’s love of the iPhone and how it drastically changed her life. Reminds me of the “desirability” factor we were discussing before the holidays set in … here’s my great prediction (to agree with Glenn): applications, products, web sites, and other stuff that are not only usable, but delightful to use will be the ones that will excel in 2008 (and beyond). Because, as Elizabeth discovered with the iPhone, it’s not WHAT you do that’s important, it’s HOW you do it. We’ve all had experiences of products and features we thought we desired that were less than fun to use when we actually got it and used it. The products and services we really love are the ones that get better the more we use them, the ones that have desirability and usability factored in.
Well, okay, it’s not a great prediction–it’s only common sense. (But wait, if it’s common sense, why isn’t it common?)
This goes for making geo-stuff “sticky” (and again) as well as for e-commerce web sites, mobile devices, toys, soda machines, cars, gadgets, and, well, um, everything people use! Make something that people love to use and they will use it. DUH!
How do you know if they’ll love to use it, though?
I think it goes back to “desirability testing.” When you do your user field tests (hopefully starting early on in the design phase), notice what the users love and what frustrates them about your whatsitz, remove the frustration points and enhance the delightful points, sprinkle in a little innovation and user-oriented thinking and you will have a winning thingy. Step inside your users’ shoes and look for the little extra that will make their lives easier, better, happier (but stay clear of over-featurizing!) Strike a balance between desirable features and simplicity of use.