Discoverability and findability

2007-04-10

    I’ve been hearing, reading and thinking a bit about discoverability lately.

    This essay sums it pretty well. He goes into some discussion about limiting the choices by prioritizing different features and making basic decisions for the user. Like making the stearing wheel more discoverable than the fuse box.

    I think that making these decisions are not only about usability they are really the decisions that differentiates you from your competition.

    You can have one million features but in the end it is your default feature set that identifies your product. If you decide to turn all those little design decisions into options for the user your product will either be identified as the power users dream or an unfocused mess.

    Since you only get one shot at the first impression it’s a tough choice for a small shop. Should you aim at the small population that likes your way of solving the specific problem or should you aim at the small population of users that will really investigate your product and tweak it to their liking?

    If you’re selling to ‘ordinary’ consumers my guess is that there are more people who will like to have a guided experience than there are curious explorers. The curious explorers are probably divided in two camps; The backpackers who want lots of low cost choices, and the expeditioners who will pay whatever it costs if it gets them where they want.