Product - Good vs. Great
Generally speaking, a good product should solve a problem for the user effectively. But a great product solves the problem in an intuitive, easy to use manner, thereby leading the user to continue to use the product over and over again. A good product turns into a great product when it has captured its audience to feel habituated with its simplicity, ease of use, visual aesthetics that reinforce trust & reliability. Great products take out the unnecessary fluff and focus on simplicity, which is often hard to achieve.
Something I can’t live without
Ever had an experience where you reached into your pocket and realized your phone is not in your pocket? That moment when your heart is racing fast and stomach lurches. Well that little panic attack is called Nomophobia - fear of losing your phone or being without your phone.
So, now you have probably guessed it that I can’t live without my iPhone (and I have been through that panic attack myself). Phones, nowadays, are not just devices used to call someone. They provide a plethora of benefits & services that we, casually, rely & use on a daily basis. A phone is your digital security blanket. Personally, I use my phone less to call people and more to fulfill my other needs.
It blows my mind that this tiny device has the ability to offer potential solutions to most problems encountered on a daily basis. For example, most smartphones made in the last 5–10 years didn’t offer capabilities that we have today. GPS is one of them. I remember printing directions from MapQuest and it was hard to read and drive. Although it increased the risk of accident, it was generally considered an accepted solution. The other option was to purchase a GPS-only device, like my dad did. I remember when he bought it, he had to go online and register the device before it could be used, and download & install any related firmware updates. Nowadays, your phone comes pre-equipped with built-in GPS that you can use to obtain navigation directions for traveling anywhere. In addition, it can provide ETA estimates, real time traffic updates and directions based on the mode of transportation used (e.g. via train, bus, walking or cycling). Most importantly GPS, these days, have something called turn-by-turn spoken directions, which reduces the risk of car accidents as the user can focus on driving and hear the directions spoken by the GPS.
Smartphone - An essential essential
It would be a fair assessment to say, smartphones have become an essential essential for most of us. Amongst a sea of essential products available, a smartphone may easily land a high ranking spot simply because of the multitude of services offered. Most devices, generally, are created with an aim to solve a particular problem, whereas smartphones excel by solving many day to day problems. The smartphone industry as a whole, and in effect our lives have been revolutionized by the innovations achieved in the last decade or so.
As I mentioned earlier, I use my iPhone less to call people and to fulfill my other needs. Having said that, I don’t feel disconnected with any of my friends or family members. Thanks to the advent of social media & communication apps, I now stay in touch via Text, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram etc. on a regular basis. Even my father (who is 65), feels more connected to his old friends back in India. As a matter of fact, he is more active on social media than I am. Contrast this with services that were available 10 years ago when he would connect with his friends individually either via phone or email. Access to social media apps has empowered him to stay connected with more people at the same time on a frequent basis.
Another example is the ability to shop online from our smartphones. He has been actively shopping online more than visiting a brick and mortar store. Given that we have a ton of flexibility when shopping online, it’s easy to see how individuals of different ages are choosing to shop from the comfort of their home on a portable device.
As the feature list of services offered on a smartphone continues to grow, It is undoubtedly one of the most innovative products on the market impacting every single user. From being able to play games, listen to music, capture & edit photos, watch movies, check weather, shop online, order food, GPS directions, stay in touch via social media from one small portable device that can be accessed from anywhere, anytime gives users tremendous flexibility. No wonder it is considered an essential essential.
I am addicted to…
Instagram and iFunny.
Many of you already know Instagram is an app where you can upload photos or videos to share with the world. But, iFunny? (I am not sure how many of you are aware of). iFunny is an app where you can swipe through jokes (or memes), in a form of images, videos and GIFs. Whenever I am feeling blue or bored, this app keeps me entertained & changes my mood instantly.
In order for good products to transition to great designs, we must ask the following questions:
- Is it intuitive?
- Is it functional?
- Is it reliable?
- and most importantly, does it make you feel good?
While the obvious answer to these questions is ‘yes’, it’s important to understand the dynamics between them and their need to coexist.