Unboundedness in consumer web products

Recently, I wrote about the importance of simplicity in consumer web design. Most big consumer web apps seem to have only a few concepts at their core. This makes some sense. The simplicity focuses a product, and makes it easy for new users to understand.

Simplicity is great, but what other properties make a great consumer product?

Another interesting property could be the boundedness of the product. Looking through the Alexa Top Sites, many top consumer web products have an unbounded feeling as you use them.

Here are some examples:

  • Google/Baidu/Live/Bing: unbounded search queries
  • Facebook/LinkedIn/Twitter: unbounded potential connections & messages
  • Youtube: unbounded videos to watch
  • Yahoo/QQ: unbounded portal of news
  • Wikipedia: unbounded portal of knowledge
  • Amazon/Taobao/eBay: unbounded marketplace of products and/or reviews
  • Blogger/Wordpress: unbounded content to read
  • Tumblr/Pinterest: unbounded content to explore and repost
  • Instagram/Snapchat: unbounded images to create

Obviously, having a useful/interesting/fun app is first priority. But beyond that, the feeling of unboundedness is very important. It means unbounded future engagement with the product, something any product designer strives for. Combine this will simplicity, you have a killer product: one that is simple to understand but allows for infinite possibilities.

Are you designing a web app?

Here are three good questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do users find your app useful, interesting, and/or fun?
  2. Is the app built around a small set of simple concepts? Even better, is the combinations of simple concepts new?
  3. Do these simple concepts enable unbounded engagement?

If you answer ‘yes’ to all three, you might be in good shape

I’ve love to add to this list. If anyone has any good suggestions, let me know!

P.S. This is post number #37 in a 100 day blogging challenge. See you tomorrow!

Follow me on Twitter @alexshye.

Check out my current project Soulmix.

3 thoughts on “Unboundedness in consumer web products

  1. Go big | Alex Shye

  2. Why I write | Alex Shye

  3. Building for consumer web? Tap into an existing user need. | Alex Shye

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