Five opportunities for your software to be world-class

Here’s 5 thought-provokers to make your software product truly great.

‪Software needs to be predictable. If users can’t figure out what is going to happen when they take some action, or if they think they have but they are not right, your software is DOA. Lots of little tweaks may be needed, sometimes a fundamental rethinking is required.

Software needs to be self-documented. People will ignore your onboarding 9x/10. If they want some result, and they can’t figure out what action to take to get that result, it’s time to ask yourself, “Why did I make this so complicated? What layers of complexity can I remove? How can the interface better communicate to the user how to get the result they want?”

Software needs to clearly communicate its utility. When a software product is like a hammer — a tool for many different potential uses — it’s on the creator to inspire potential (and current!) users by illustrating — inside the product and out — all the different kinds of things the user can achieve or do with the product.

Software needs to be empathetic to the users’ work & thought processes. So much software is designed to work the way an underlying protocol, file format, or database works. That’s why Email clients are so cumbersome. Great software products are not designed according to how the tech works, but to how the user works. How do users think about this info? How do they want to interact with it? How do they organize this information in their mind? Reflect that on screen.

Software needs to be delightful. The reason why people flocked to Slack over similar tools like HipChat was, initially, all about delight. Slack intentionally baked in many little ways of delighting the user in a category where all of their competitors’ software felt corporate, cumbersome, and lifeless. What is your software’s personality? If someone interacts with it every day, it’s very important that your product is a joyful companion to have around.

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