Try to remember the time when you ordered furniture online, and you had to assemble it. Seeing it in photos made it seem like assembling it is a walk in the park. But all its tiny components, different parts, and the manual written in a foreign language almost made you want to ship the parcel back.
Aside from the glaring detachment of the photos from reality, the most pressing concern in this situation is the lack of clarity on how to assemble it yourself. Of course, you could easily contact customer support to guide you, but it doesn’t fix the lack of clear instructions to make it work.
The same can be said for many products available in the market. As a business owner, you wouldn’t want your customers to spend half of their lives trying to figure out how your products work. And as a consumer, you’d rather spend money on something that makes your life easier and not on a product that steals a good amount of time you could’ve spent doing something meaningful.
With that said, here are four basics of user-friendly product development.
1. Do Research
Depending on the industry you’re in and the consumers you’re serving, the concept of user-friendliness or how easily your customers navigate around your products varies. In the food industry, for example, fast-food customers would want a straightforward menu that could save them time, while customers in a fine-dining restaurant would prefer a menu with more details for each item.
As needs and wants vary, these points of variation are a good research opportunity. Aside from conducting market research, looking into the profile of your customers is typically the first step to having a successful user experience (UX). Read here to know what is UX design.
2. Be Consistent
In terms of establishing standards for your products, your first and foremost goal is to aim for consistency. It’s easy to think you’re being consistent in both quality and delivery, but the actual UX may say otherwise. That’s why devising ways to monitor and assess your consistency is another helpful albeit indirect way of incorporating user-friendliness in your products.
Adhering to quality assurance protocols ensures that quality is guaranteed and consumers will always get the same experience each time they buy your product. In addition, consistency helps not only in product development but also in post-assessment. The key points you’ve taken note of during the development process can be re-examined in the post-assessment phase for their importance and effectiveness. Such points may include color scheme, typeface selection, and the list goes on.
3. Keep It Simple
After doing market research and upholding your standards, your task now is to incorporate them into your product in the simplest way possible. At the end of the day, the customer is king, thus you make your products easy enough for your customers to use.Also, simplicity is a stylistic choice. In terms of design, simplicity is associated with minimalism, which never goes out of style.
Indeed, overwhelming designs give off a complicated vibe and that’s the last thing you want your consumers to feel when they look at your product. But take a look at the forecasted interior design trends for 2022, where maximalism may have its unexpected comeback.
4. Your Customers Are Human
As renowned Harvard psychology professor Gordon Allport said, ‘To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering.’ It’s safe to assume that your customers, being human, are suffering one way or another. Despite the philosophical undertone, you must consider the ‘pain points’ of your customers.
For instance, both Barbara and Greg are looking for Bluetooth speakers. Barbara prefers wireless connection because of a physical injury, while Greg wants one because his friends have been making fun of him for using AUX speakers. In this situation, although both customers have the same need, Barbara’s pain point falls under her current physical injury that Greg doesn’t have.
Providing an easily navigable online ordering page would benefit Barbara more than Greg who has the option of buying online or visiting one of your stores.
Generally, pain points—and other factors that affect human lives—must be taken into careful consideration during product development. And with the current tech innovations such as AI, you have wider options to make your products user-centric.
When it comes to the development of a user-friendly product, it’s a good idea to stick to the basics—do research, be consistent, keep it simple, and remember your customers are human. What’s essential is to provide a customer-centric product that meets their needs, makes their life easier, and creates the best possible experience.
Amanda Nelson is currently a professional content writer.