May 24, 2012

The Laziness Factor

Why is the iOS so much better than Android?

What makes a good website, good app or a good product?

How many times have you made a new year resolution and given up on it?

One of the connecting threads in the above questions I believe is the laziness factor. It is an acceptance of the fact that human's are inherently lazy and will tend to do things and use products that let them be that way. This laziness factor I believe needs to be considered while building products, software or even planning things in our own life.

Laziness is not just about physical activity but also about mental. iOS lets you be dumb. You don't need to be smart enough to know that you need to slide to open the phone. It states the fact right there. Every unnecessary click, scroll, needed skill that your product requires out of its users, it makes itself less usable in reference to the laziness factor threshold of the user.

Website and web app design is one other such thing where this factor comes handy. Is the important thing given enough importance on the site? Or does the user have to dig in, read every small text, click on the menu and search it to find what it needs. The Google home page is a classic example. It hits the boundaries of ensuring that their users can remain as lazy as they want to be. Unfortunately somehow Google fails to consider this factor on its other products.

How about considering a non tech example of a new year resolution to work out. I think one of the primary reason people break this resolution is because they ignore the laziness factor. If for a 30 minute workout you have to take a detour, go through the hassles of parking, carrying a workout bag - water - snacks - clothes along with you, the laziness factor will eventually take over and stop you from going to that gym. One way would be to accept this factor and plan accordingly. Like, purchase a locker so you don't carry your stuff with you everyday. Take membership to a gym which is on the way home and on the same side of the road you will be driving. Spend money on a nice bike so you simply replace your commute time with a workout time.

Organizing my home or office is one another place this factor can be considered. If I put all my things in the right place, the files in the cabinet, the books on the bookshelf, my clothes on the hanger, how long will they remain that way? If its not long, that means I did not consider the laziness factor while planning the spaces for these things in the first place. Probably I need two bookshelves, one in my office and one near my bed. I probably need a cabinet in my bathroom as well for towels and stuff. My socks need a place near my shoes and not with my other clothes. You get the point!

I do not mean about the word 'laziness' in any negative way. Laziness I think is neutral. It is there, as a fact. Trying to overcome laziness using sheer will does not often work. Accepting the factor as it is helps. So we can plan around it and not keep fooling ourselves.