A directory of simple things that work

14Sep07

I recently came across the Uncle Mark Gift Guide and I liked the concept immediately. As a customer experience consultant, Mark Hurst shares his recommendations on which products are easy-to-use and actually do what they claim. It follows that these products would make excellent gifts within their category, since recipients will spend their time using and enjoying them — without losing hours on the phone with tech support.

Taking this concept one step further, I would love to see someone create an online directory of simple, well-designed products. This could serve as a resource to shoppers, as well as a reference for product managers and designers. Perhaps it could take the form of a blog or wiki, where people contribute their favorite products and an informal panel decides which ones make the grade.

Unlike more general product review websites, the products on this list need to work intuitively right out-of-the-box. I don’t want products where the user was baffled at first, spent hours on the phone with tech support, found an obscure workaround, and is reasonably happy now. In other words, if users have to decipher a huge manual or hunt for goofy workarounds, your product won’t qualify.

Admittedly, I’m not up to the task of creating this directory right now. But if someone else decides to, I’ll be happy to submit a few products for consideration 🙂



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