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Don't design what users want...
Learn how to design what they NEED
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Good morning/afternoon/evening design titans! We have another banger of a newsletter for ya.
Cool www finds: fun links and useful things from around the web
Swiss Passports: a little critique of the now most famous passport on the internet
Don’t design what users want… thoughts on how to address user's’ needs even when they ask for something else
1) Cool www finds
For these I dig into my recently liked tweets... err… xeets(?) to share with you cool things from around the web!
A really interesting experiment to play with color palettes by generating things a color might be used in. I love these things as they are new ways to explore ideas in a generative way without having to manually make the colors and then apply them to another thing elsewhere floating in your Figma file.
A finally free, open source condensed serif typeface based on the lovely Libre. Go check it out! DID I SAY ITS FREE.
2) Swiss Passports
If you haven’t been on #designtwitter, you may have missed these epic passports designed by RETINAA for the Swiss government.
Some initial thoughts on these.
I am moving to Switzerland just to have one.
Kidding aside, I find these to bring a sense of awe and wonder to that country, making others feel an urge to want one without even needing a passport.
Although, nobody will really ever see these glow-in-the-dark features of the passports except when being scanned, that is what helps to make these even more special.
More countries should take care of components to their whole citizen experience including attention to detail on passports like these. And with these passports setting the bar high, I’d now expect the rest of government services in Switzerland to play out the same—equally compelling and, dare I say, with attention to detail. (Side note: should I write a detailed article on citizen experiences?)
Countries—if you’re listening, push your leaders for higher branding standards. You may become the envy of the world (or maybe limited to #designtwitter?)
Before we continue, check out our podcast on YouTube where you can see me interview top tier designers and hear their stories, strategies, and tactics that make them successful so you can be too.
Also, I hear that the best designers subscribe to this newsletter and share it with their friends... Just sayin.
3) Don’t design what users want…
Design what users need, not what they ask for.
Huh? You’re probably thinking this is completely contradicting itself… Let’s dive in.
Users complain a LOT about missing features.
They often ask for specific-to-them features that do not make any sense for other users.
For example, a user of ours asked for a feedback form—they wanted the ability to let their users drop feedback into a form and submit that form for review.
What we ended up building is a feedback center that manages feedback coming from many sources including Slack, HubSpot, and other integrations.
Why didn’t we do just what the user asked for?
Because their complaint of lacking a specific feature was actually a symptom. It was not the root cause of the problem.
When talking to them, their problem was that they actually had no way of managing their user’s feedback—not just collecting it—and submission was actually a very simple thing our tool did not allow. Currently they did have ways of letting users submit the feedback, but by putting it on the users to go somewhere special to relay this feedback, it was an unnecessary burden and made more work for their internal staff to organize. AKA this meant users would have had to fill out a disgusting FORM, which everyone hates doing, and team members collecting the feedback would need a spreadsheet to add each feedback submission to in order to organize it and later assign it to a request to design and code.
What they really needed was a way to send user feedback from several internal tools they already used into our new tool so internal users can screen the feedback as it comes and put it in the right spot for a product manager to review and assign appropriately.
There’s that famous quote “if I asked people what they wanted, they would have said a faster horse!” which allegedly came from Henry Ford, but is actually fake.
Still it holds up right?
People often complain about something but do not have your set of eyes that oversees an entire product and coincides with lots of feedback from many users. You have the power to make whatever is necessary to continue your goal and help them.
Just remember, what they say isn’t always what they mean.
— Mitchell 🔥
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