"Addictive User Experience"

I wish I had coined that phrase. I ran across it earlier today in a BusinessWeek 'special report' that I received by email. It was written by Dave McClure (well done Dave). I agree with Dave and I am not going to rehash his comments. I  recommend that you read his article, along with the other articles referenced in 'The Value of Design' by Helen Walters.

In my years in engineering and business I have observed some really good engineering. I have also seen some great design. It seems like it is more common to find poorly designed products, many of which are supported by good underlying engineering work.  You cannot simply engineer good design. Well-designed products are 'addictive'. They elicited an emotional response, which is frequently not rational. (As a passionate designer and good friend often reminds me). 

Do you want an example? How about the iPod? When it launched, there were other mp3 players in the space. The functionality was not that different, but the iPod was very well designed. What really set it apart? It was the entire experienced .. an experience that was designed to generate an emotional response.  I remember when I purchased my first iPod. I recall how each element was expressed: The packaging, the well designed case and user interface. Heck, it even had white ear buds. Then, not much after the iPod hit the street, there was the iTune store. This changed the entire experience in purchasing music and other content.  And the best part ... Apple was able to price the device at a premium. They quickly took market share from the competition and created a cult-like following, much like what they have enjoyed for years with the Mac. 

Contrary to common believe, the impact of 'good design' extends into the B2B space. Many B-2-B companies overlook the value of good design and make due with average products. Some of the most 'design abused' products live here. There is a real opportunity for good design firms and for companies with open minded, progressive management.  

So, while it takes more than well-designed product to win, a well-designed product can make a difference. 

What do you think? I welcome your comments.