One of the hardest things about building a product like WhatsApp is that, as a development team, we’re primarily not building for ourselves. Instead we aim to build for the most technologically vulnerable users — people who live in emerging markets, often with low-end devices, on poor networks, who might be brand-new to technology — even though our product is used by a wide spectrum of users globally.
"The simpler the solution, the lower the cognitive load" - Great recipe applicable for many products
Wonderfully written. I believe it's your writing style which made this article more interesting :)
P.S: If you are collecting user requests, here is one from at least 50 friends I know: "As a user, I want to upload a 1 or 2 mins video to my WhatsApp status, so that I don't have to put extra effort to upload the same video multiple times, cut it and upload each 30s clip using WhatsApp status editor"
Very good starting point for a broader reflection on UX! I always adopt the "my grandma" mindset when looking at a product the first time. Especially a mass consumer product. Of course I mean no disrespect to elderly with this :) but the generational gap often provides insights from an audience that lies outside our product domain.
And that's the key for me. How to make one domain, either tech or not, more understandable to another person coming from a different domain. I've seen hardware engineers and product owners paralysed by the UI of a barista coffee machine, but actual baristas reassuring me it's very efficient and practical.
Where does the line stand between operational efficiency and learning curve? We could talk about this for hours, but my simple rule is "the longer I have to explain, especially to people in the same domain, the worse the UX will be to the final user". It's something along the lines of the instruction manual. If it's too long, I will produce high user friction. Did we ever see a manual on an Apple product?
So personally if I find myself giving to many explanations, it's a huge flag that I'm not really reducing complexity.