Good Products vs. Great Products

What makes a product attract more active users than any else?

When I was reading the Principles of Product Design by Joshua Porter , even I am not a theory person, I reflect all the successful products and especially the ones that I use almost every day, I learn to understand more what makes a good product great.

“The difference between a good and great is the last 10%, Everyone has the same 90%”.


“The Amazon Prime subscription service has 80 million U.S. members, up nearly 40% from a year ago.” (

Porter states that a great product should be applied these two principles first , “usefulness is job #1” and “the experience is the product”.

Amazon is the biggest online shopping mall that carries over 500 million products and 2 million merchants. It’s a successful business model helps millions of small businesses and customers. With its large network, startups can start selling with low cost, and customers basically can find anything from Amazon and it brings a lot of convenience to its shoppers. On the other hand, with its deliberate UX design, you don’t feel overwhelmed by excessive information and ads. It’s so easy to navigate and find products on the website just by putting in the keywords, as you would suggested by SEO data and presented with the best products filtered by real customer reviews. Categories and sub categories are well organized and sorted through using hierarchy design.

There are tons of online shopping malls in the market, some of them even have more competitive prices, and most of the products have an official website which even contains a better product feature description. So what makes people use Amazon, and even pay for the prime membership? Its customer service, the guaranteed and reliable service, and it makes everything different.

Except clothes, skincare and food, I shop at Amazon for most of the things. Of course as a smart consumer, I compare the price on different websites if I have time. I concluded two reasons that I am loyal to Amazon-

1. Convenient and trustworthy

Most of the time you shop for something because you need it urgently, 2-day guaranteed shipping just make your life a lot easier. To begin with that, just a lot of people do not mind to pay $99/year for that. Of course the prime membership includes a lot more other benefits such as prime access to movies, TVs, songs and books, also amazingly now includes unlimited photo storage. Why $99/year and why these features? That’s a very effective user research, they understood the pain, and they understood the border line that can make customer happy.

2. The supreme customer service that I’ve received so far

I’ve never been hesitant to place an order on Amazon, because the guaranteed return service without redundant questions, and always helpful real person customer service to solve your problems, and the solutions always make you happy.


“Growth speed up as it hits 700 million users.” (

Two of the principles that mentioned by Porter are, “Release a smaller, better product”, and “positioning is crucial”. Instagram started as a basic photo-sharing app comes with quality photo editing and filter. A lot of people did not agree with the concept in the beginning, as it appealed to be an superficial app that used by naive people who are bored enough to show what they are eating, where they are going and show off some other stuff. And the “square only” feature made a lot of people not used to it.

So what makes it bring 700 millions users as of today?

Instagram’s positioning is clear, for people who value pictures and especially high quality pictures, for people to find feeds through hashtags, for people to better connect because pictures tell more than any words. It has become a very effective platform for a lot of artists, celebrities, startups and shops.

Instagram has always applied the user-centered principle. As they understood that a lot of people would like to use rectangular shape for some of the pictures, they allowed it. As they understood that people want to share multiple pictures at a time, they added “layout” and “multi-picture” features. Same as the new feature “stories”, it’s attracts a lot of users from snapchat. Instagram landed small with a single purpose, as it grows, it attracts so many shops to post ads and users started understand the concept and use it much often. It’s a very effective platform to connect millions companies and their customers.

However, Amazon and Instagram are both great products that attract millions users everyday. The principles that they applied on their design are not only the ones that I mentioned above but all of the principles that Porter wrote. Everything is considered as an element that makes the product great.