Designing a product is like having sex

Malik Shaikh
4 min readJul 2, 2016


You have to satisfy your users till the end.

“Art is like masturbation. It is selfish and introverted and done for you and yourself alone. Design is like having sex. There’s someone else involved, their needs are just as important as yours and if everything goes right, both parties are happy in the end.” — COLIN WRIGHT

One of the most vital driving forces of any living being is sex and it plays a huge part in our lives. It can be the cause of much pleasure, motivation, and even frustration. Yes, design is like having sex and a user is your partner who will intimately interact and mate with your product. Your design is not good enough, unless your user is satisfied with it. It’s a virtual intimacy; we don’t need a bedroom or a partner beside us, we just need a clear and focused mind while we put on our designer hats.

Here’s some outline to get start with sex, I mean design 🤒

1. Start with foreplay

Start with research, dig deep like you dig your partner’s past relationship status, and why they were unhappy with it. Just like pre-sex foreplay, we’ve to do some groundwork and uncover some key insights about the user behavior, attitude and technology proficiency in the process. All this information will allow us to understand the pain and frustration user is going through with other apps. All this things may help us to create experience which the user wishes to have.

2. Understand their fantasies

Before breaking your bed with them; ask or passively try to understand their fantasies, because everyone wants their fantasies (many of them hidden) to be fulfilled. So, before starting off with the design, consider knowing their needs. Your product should make users feel happy and fulfilled and by then most likely you’re already meeting their needs as well. We should understand the psychology and science behind how people interpret information, make decisions and behave, which will lead you to design a better and useful product.

3. Don’t rush.

Don’t lose control! Don’t rush for designing an experience with lack of research and feedback or it may lead you to a pre-mature ejaculation leaving your partner disappointed. A good designer has a process in place. It includes proper research, having to sit-down meetings to discuss the goals of the project, and figuring out if the thing we’re discussing will truly serve the need. So, as a designer you should ask for a productive deadline because you are the one who is going to design an experience for hundreds and thousands of users.

4. Let them feel your touch

Your touch matters a lot while having sex and the same applies here. Here you are seducing your users with your interactions. Better interaction produces active feedback for the user actions. A feature may attract people to use the product, but details thrill them. Put yourself in the shoes of a user and use all that you’ve to figure out how they will use your app. If the user enjoys the experience and finds it pleasant, they will return. Also, don’t annoy the user by overusing interaction and animations, this’ll make the user stay away from your app. Don’t be so touchy 😤

5. Help them reach orgasm

Help your partner reach orgasm in the most natural way. By creating a successful and smooth product flow, you’re making a user’s life easy. User flow is one of the key parts of a design process. In order to increase your conversion rate, you need to create the user flow right. Each step should be well-thought. Explain how your product or service is useful and how it would work, provide detailed information if needed. But don’t over do it, don’t forget about loading time and number of options as well, which will lead to overcrowded interface. Create clear and attractive call to actions which will guide them to the next step.

6. Don’t just wear your cloths and leave

You just can’t leave your user alone after a flow is complete. You should start communicating with users directly. Notifications play a good role in this scenario. But, don’t send out notifications just because you can. Don’t push notifications just to lure users into using your app. Keep the message clear and understandable. No matter what the content of the notification is, make sure it speaks the same language as your user. You should personalize notifications for different interests. This is the best user retention technique.

7. Have a long-term relationship

Say NO to one-night stands, in a world where digital security is of key concern, we should design and create a user interface and experience that users can trust. Establishing this trust will help bridging the gap between you and the user. Like, creating a clear navigation, using clear communication, solving problems and giving users control. A user that trusts your product is more likely to convert into your loyal promoter and will happily share his worthwhile experience with others. Trust me, trust will get you a long way.

Make love so good, so that it becomes a want!

Illustration by : Antonio Sortino

Hope you enjoyed reading, I’d love to hear from you by tweeting me @malikkshaikh You can also check my design explorations here

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