Adding water to a kettle should require little thought. And yet after 10 minutes of trying to figure out how to get the lid open, I ended up putting water in through the spout.
Knowing under which spout to put my mug for the machine to put coffee into shouldn’t be a game of roulette (which I lost).
Releasing the plug in a sink should not require you to put your hands back into the water that has become dirty after you washed your hands or face in it. And yet, the ‘pop-up’ sink plugs require you to do this.
There are design failures all around us, but also brilliant designs. Design failure often results in the user feeling dumb or silly, which unlikely the goal of the product. Good design often has subtle symbols helping the user go on the intended journey step by step. Good design helps the user feel smart, proud, and the ‘hero’ of the story.
In our work with change, we need good design full of subtle indicators of where to step next. When we work closely with those who are impacted by the change, it is crucial for them to build their confidence in the new behaviours required. When they are confident, when they are the ‘heroines’ of the new story, they will be more willing to change.
Make it clear what step you want the user to take next. Map the journey; don’t make me guess. Do the work.