Digital Products Can Be Unintentionally Rude

Have you ever tried to do something on your computer and an error message popped up with just the word “ERROR!” and nothing else? (How rude!) Or have you ever found yourself trying to do one thing on the internet and winding up with double the amount of necessary steps? (How rude!)

Recently, I observed someone try to ‘email’ a photo. Seems pretty straight forward right? Try to visualize in your head how many steps it would take. Now, try to visualize the least amount of steps to get there.


Here’s what a normal person would expect:
Step 1: Select the Photo
Step 2: Toggle “Send” on a menu that pops up
Step 3: Enter your email address
Step 4: Send


Here’s what it took a normal person to actually complete the process on a computer:

Step 1: Open Internet Browser
Step 2: Login to Email
Step 3: Create New Email
Step 4: Select Attach
Step 5: Browse through your file folders to find the attachment
(OR, For this specific person – go back to the opened image and select the file path)
Step 6: Select ‘Open’ or ‘Upload’
Step 7: Write something in the email
Step 8: Send

If it took someone this long and hard to get ONE THING done on their computer – think about how hard it is for your prospects and customers to interact with your digital product. Where there are barriers to revenue, you’ll find all sorts of bad design.

How do we avoid Bad Design?

Looking back to the two examples above – it’s easier to tell which path is better for the person trying to send a photo. Design isn’t always this obvious and easy – but it can be intuitive. Here are three ways you can incorporate kindness into your digital products:

1. Start With Design
Back when there were “Mad Men”, we would build the products first and then turn to advertising agencies to find a human ‘need’ or ‘want’ on the product. “Find the unique selling proposition of this product!” we would say. Nowadays products have become commoditized it’s important for us to think about how a user would interact and feel – yes feel – about it prior to the full development process. It’s not enough to simply build and keep building because in doing so you’ll have built features no one really wants. Visualize the most important features for your customers prior to building.

2. Keep the End User in Mind
Intuitive digital products constantly refer back to the user’s goals, needs, and motivations. What are the core features the end user is looking for? How can you save them time in getting there? What will make it easier for a user to perform repetitive tasks? Keep these questions in mind next time you’re designing a solution for your clients.

3. Create Feedback Loops
You’ve often heard “Test, test, test!” for digital products – which is essential to understanding human behaviour towards your product. However, testing isn’t effective without proper feedback channels. Testing a feature in an isolated environment lacks the sustainability developed from testing in external environments. When you put a new feature to a select in market group – you’ll be able to see if it can withstand competition and truly fulfill user needs over time.

Lastly, hire a company with expertise in designing digital products. At Lifted, we help business owners from start-up to enterprise build their digital products – starting with design.

Let’s connect today: sam[at]