Build products that make a difference in each user’s work and life.
Written by Scott Baldwin, Director Product Management at Thinkific, for our ebook, The Path to Product Excellence: Stories and Advice From the Field.
Here’s my most delightful day: going for an early morning long mountain run (yeah, I’m that guy who’s fully alert and productive and running up a mountain at 5:00 am that you all hate); coming home, having a warm bath, and then taking a nap in the afternoon; sitting down to a roasted chicken dinner with friends or family and a great bottle of red wine; then sitting back afterwards listening to the crowd build in excitement while Duke Ellington and his orchestra bang out Diminuendo And Crescendo In Blue on their amazing live album Ellington at Newport.
Moments in life like these are always delightful. As a product manager, I often struggle to find that same sense of delight in the products I’m using or sometimes even in the ones I build on my own. But when I do, it’s a remarkable joy often captured in a single detail, a small interaction, or a thoughtful, timely touch that’s instantly memorable and often unforgettable.
Delight is generally defined as having a high degree of gratification, pleasure, and joy. From the perspective of product development, Aaron Walker, in his book Designing for Emotion, describes a hierarchy of user needs. He says that every product must be functional (solving a problem), reliable (up and running), usable (easy to use, learn, and remember), and pleasurable. For comparison, Dana Chisnell describes three approaches—Pleasure, Flow, and Meaning—that teams can use to add delight to their product.
Whether you work in B2B or B2C, spending even a bit of effort on delight will drive improvements in your key AARRR metrics (acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and referral).
It’s up to you as a Product Manager to determine how to prioritize delight. Here are some ways you can get started:
Measure your delight success with metrics, such as those based on Google’s H.E.A.R.T, a framework to measure user experience on a large scale:
I include delight as one of our key drivers in productboard, with every feature ranked for delight. Use Google’s H.E.A.R.T.’s 5 factors listed above to rank and prioritize product changes using each factor as a Driver in productboard.
Incorporate delight in all areas of your product development process. Dan Olsen covers some of these topics in The Lean Product Playbook.
Share your users’ delight with your team, such as:
These shared delights encourage your team and help them see the value in prioritizing delight.
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This post is an excerpt from our ebook, The Path to Product Excellence: Stories and Advice From the Field. Get your copy now for more valuable insights from product management thought leaders.