Habit and Product Design

Designing a product or service for the habitual mind requires a nontraditional approach. Each element, including physical layout, form factor, functionality, and intangibles such as service plans and warranties, impacts how well a product or service becomes habitual. In the design phase, the focus needs to be on the specific behaviors the user will perform. Decisions made at conceptualization have a disproportionately large impact on the product’s life cycle. Seemingly innocuous decisions made in the early stages often sabotage an offering’s future or, as with the iPod, position a product for market domination.

Marketers have long known that it is better to focus on a product’s benefits than its features, but this mentality ...

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