You (yes you!) can make delightful products

Series: delightful products May 08, 2013

You’ve probably heard about delighting your customers.

A pleasant little surprise can convert someone into a die-hard fanatic.

This idea has been popping up in my life a lot recently.

I ordered this belt (after seeing it on Shark Tank – guilty pleasure) and when I opened the package there was a hand-written note. It probably took someone 20 seconds to do but it made me smile and I showed two other people.

Mission Belt note

I just finished up some contract work for a local coffee shop. Here’s what I got in the mail after the project was completed:

Greyhouse Box

Are you frickin’ kidding me? A hand-calligraphified box? Filled with awesome treats?

Think I’ll have to hem and haw about doing more work for them in the future? Nope.

I am a firm believer in the idea (some are not) — but it always seemed like something that was out-of-reach. Sure, Disney or Zappos or 37signals can delight! It’s in their DNA and culture! I can’t think of a way to delight my users…

You know what? It’s not that hard.

Delighting users requires a bit of nuance (don’t get too cheesy…) — but you can do it! You don’t have to be some UX prodigy or take a calligraphy class.

I started making a deliberate effort to delight and it has been really fun. Not only do I put a smile on the face of users, but I actually feel happier working on the projects. One stupid little joke changes my whole attitude and motivation towards progressing on the app.

Here’s three examples from projects of mine. None of them took more than 30 minutes to implement.

  • I asked five co-workers to write down 10 phrases that meant “good job”. I picked the best ones and added a random “kudos” message to our employee happiness app.
Random kudos message
  • In my TV episode tracker, when you run out of items to watch - you receive this playful jab. A little humor is always welcome.
TV Zero™
  • When I started building my anti-social RSS reader, one of the first things I added was this self-aware message in the footer — reminding myself to stop using the app.
Hey! Slacker!

Your Homework: Add one delightful thing to your work. No, seriously, do it.

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