First impressions in products: How to impress?

There may be a lot of things different people look for in different products, but is there a common element or two that catches everyone's eyes?

First impressions in products: How to impress?

Another weekend morning waking up to chat with, this time, more guests!! On the topic as stated in the title, another personal curiosity (you see the pattern now?).  As a product owner who learned on the job rather than formally educated for it, I'd like to observe what catches people's attention when it comes to first impressions of products.  Joining me were Chiranjeet, Edi, Saf, Vhen. We are all colleagues actually, and this is a combination of product designers, software engineers, and digital community builders.

Firstly, any impressionable products that you have seen, touched, used, experienced across time?

We started off sharing on products (mainly websites) we thought were impressionable.  That includes (in no particular order) wetransfer, Paper, FModern, Headspace, Microsoft, Apple, Labyrinth board game, blogs, Hawaiian Airlines website, the Macbook Air, Slow Growth Academy, and Lego.

Most of the ones we shared can be described as minimal, clean, elegant, pop of colours, strong and easily understood brand image, engaging, attention grabbing, do one (or a few) thing but do it well, very accessible.

Vhen shared his own interest in observing the web design and function trends and also showed us a few examples that the web has evolved from just delivering static content to enabling static site interaction (e.g. comment feature) to global web participation and interactions.  

However, impressions were subjective as we all have different personalities and preference.  Although, all products engage us by sparking curiosity to hook us into continue engaging with it.  Edi made a good observation: Impressionable products evokes emotions.  It is also a bonus point if brings people together. =P

So what do you think are the key things to bear in mind when designing products to give good impression?

Chiranjeet mentioned that we can think of 2 types of users generically: 1) a user who knows what they want; 2) a user who doesn't know what they want.  2 may require more education to inform them on why they need the product itself.  Whereas 1 would already be intending to get their hands on a product that fulfills their need or want, so they would want to get straight into how to use it, rather than why.

From the observations we shared, I found that good first impressions are made on products that make you feel S.A.F.E.  (Well, safety is key for survival and it does trigger strong emotions when provided or taken away.)

S=Social. Impressionable products enable elements of social interaction, allowing us to connect with others. S may also stand for 'Simple' as high accessibility leaves better impression, of course.

A=Aesthetics. To make an impression, how it looks (or physically feel, or heard) is key.  We are built to associate things that look good as useful or valuable.  However, this may be subjected to a person's preference. This could be peeled further, but we didnt dive to deep in the psychological triggers for what makes good aesthetics.

F=Functionality.  If you can provide a function, and provide it well, that makes good first impression too.  Many products are designed for a function, and usually to solve a problem. So if you can design to solve a problem, that could keep your audience hooked too.

E=Engagement. An impressionable product engages, evokes emotions, sparks curiousity. An impressionable product makes you feel connected to yourself, to the product, and sometimes to others too. It fascinates then immerse you in an experience. It captivates you by making you feel things and question what's next.

There is definitely more than just these, as Saf mentioned to observe 'motivations' as well. The intention behind the need and want of different products may serve as a factor in a person's "impress-ability".

People make eleven decisions about us in the first seven seconds of contact. ~Michael Solomon's 7/11 rules for first impression.

We drifted a while into designing of products as well but we came back to the main intention of our conversation: to design the gimmick.  A product (or perhaps even an idea) may not need to be perfect to start with, as it also depends on what the hook intends to get you to.  The intention is to convince an audience to use or engage with a product.  

Products work best when designed with both form & function.

Ultimately, the end user is the key.

Watch or listen to our rambles to get a feel of our thoughts, and comment if you can relate or think otherwise.

p/s: Any organisation or people named in this podcast are solely train of thoughts of the speakers and we mean no harm to anyone or anything associated with it. =P