A big part of good product design involves nailing the small details of the product and I believe that the details of good design all add up to reduce stress in our lives, while those of bad design add to it.
But I didn’t always believe this.
I’m a marketer – have been for a long time. And I probably always will be to some degree, even as I improve my programming and design skills and become better at creating.
Before I had my product epiphany, I had never thought that strongly about product. I knew selling a good product was much easier than a bad one, but I didn’t think much about how to create good products because I wasn’t very skilled at creating.
This began to change as I learned more about conversion rate optimization and how a well designed website will convert better. Good design equaled good marketing I realized. I had always appreciated well designed things, but this was when I finally appreciated how it could make my work better.
But it wasn’t until I sat in a new 2007 Mercedes C class that I understood the emotional connection that good design has and how the details in a product can make a huge difference in how people appreciate it.
The Mercedes C class had played second fiddle to the BMW 3 series for a long time, so for the new model that debuted in 2007, they put a huge amount of effort into completely rethinking the car. It worked as it won awards and sales soared.
I was sitting in the new Mercedes C class and turned the car on – the radio had been left on the night before, so it turned on as well when I pushed the start button.
To my surprise, instead of a sudden jolt of music, the volume gradually transitioned to the level it had been at when the car was turned off.
I wouldn’t have noticed this if it wasn’t for my car, a Honda Accord. There were many things I loved about that car, but one thing I didn’t was the blast of noise I’d get after leaving the radio blaring the night before.
I managed to scare myself on several occasions when I jumped in my car early in the morning to go to work, which was not a great way to start the day.
Noticing how much nicer it was to have the radio gradually transition created a powerful thought in my head – this actually reduced a small amount of my stress where doing the same actions in my car added to it. It’s what most people would consider a tiny detail, but it made a big difference to me.
I began to notice all the other tiny details of the car such as how the door closed with a soft thunk whereas closing the door on my Honda produced a higher pitched note of metal hitting metal. These details all added up to make the overall experience a great one – I noticed I was less stressed every time I drove the Mercedes versus my car.
These small details add up over the course of the day, week, month, year and our lives to either minimize stress or add to it. Apple obviously gets it and that’s why they put so much thought into the details of their product.
This is a big reason why I pay so much attention to the details of my client’s products – they all add up to either reduce stress or add to it. And a product that reduces stress creates a great experience, which makes it easier to sell and market.