- Is it shiny?
- Does it help you get laid or improve the odds of getting laid?
- Does it provide food, safety, security?
- What do your friends think?
Okay, it’s not really this simple. Designing products and experiences that people want is a difficult proposition. Rolf Skyberg is giving an interesting talk at OSCON 2007 titled Applying Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to Technology. The focus is on understanding WHY people want products, not the HOW of building products.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs provides a strong filter through which to view your projects and reveals some interesting results: major retailers sell hot-dogs because you can’t shop if you’re hungry; AJAX reduces the time and cognitive load on your users so they can spend more time being productive or enjoying themselves; and Linux still isn’t ready for the desktop if Grandma’s new digital camera doesn’t work out of the box.
This matches Maslow's of hierarchy of needs: survival supercedes security, security supercedes prosperity, and prosperity supercedes socialization. Enlightenment, esteem, and belonging are at the top of the pyramid. These priorities are innate to all humans and apply across offline & online ecosystems.
What needs does your product satisfy? What assumptions about lower level needs are you making? How does your product make the web a tool to in our inability to store, process, retreive and transmit massive amounts of information with other humans not near each other?