The ‘Good Enough’ Product

Lately, I have been thinking about the products that I use on a daily basis. Right from my phone to different software / hardware to the vehicles and here is a simple observation.
Most of the products that have stuck are ‘good enough’ for me.

For e.g. my XUV is just good enough for me (feature pack vs. utility vs. price matrix). I could have gone for a much better (and costlier) product – but this just fits in for me.

Same with most of the products we end up using – the ‘coolness’ gets over in some time. What sticks isn’t how cool the product is (or the swanky UI), but whether it fits into your ‘way of things’, into your ‘life context’.

For example, one of the ugliest looking product in the India internet industry is…Naukri.com
There have been many attempts to kill Naukri – most of the new age startups start their pitch with

Naukri UI sucks. See how web1.0 it is.

A year down the line, the startup may or may not live – but Naukri is getting bigger and bigger. It’s a function of distribution – but if there is one word to describe everything that a usable product stands for..it is

RELEVANCE

And most of the usable products are about being relevant and if you notice, they are just ‘good enough’. They aren’t too fancy (check your toothbrush) – but just ‘good enough’ to do the job.

And they fit into your life.

“To design something really well you have to get it.  You have to really grok what it’s all about.  It takes a passionate commitment to thoroughly understand something – chew it up, not just quickly swallow it.  Most people don’t take the time to do that… The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.” – Steve Jobs

And once you have a good understanding of the user experience – your product will end up being just ‘good enough’. And so ‘good enough’ that people will actually use it.

Update : Some of you asked me examples of ‘good enough’ product. Here is my collection with a certain context (italicized).

  1. LinkedIn : works most of the time. If I need to connect to anyone, there is a very high probability of them being present (and open to connect) on LinkedIn vs. any other platform. Though, it’s a known fact that LinkedIn UI (still) sucks.
  2. My HP Windows laptop : I sold my Mac Air and settled with Windows – largely because I needed a laptop with touch screen – and touch screen that works (I am developing carpel tunnel syndrome). Plus, easy on my pocket. This is ‘just good enough’ and gets a lot of things done.
  3. Redmi Note 4: I need a 64GB device (for my music collection) and given its price and features, Redmi Note 4 works perfectly. I had an iPhone 6S (64GB) which i don’t use anymore. Again, I play with a lot of startup/developer apps and nobody in India builds first for iOS.

Products are built around context and usage. After all, how many of you saw a consistent stream of happiness after you bought that swanky new phone or that TV?