The One Thing That Matters In Product Design

A code update resulted in a rarely-used button looking a little off. It was 2 pixels to the right of where it used to be. 200 customers and not one of them had made a peep about it. Fixing it would be trivial but the last update was only a week old. The engineers wanted to wait until the next release.

The CEO was fidgeting while he listened. I hadn’t seen this in other meetings. He spoke up:

“Fix it. Push the update with no other fixes.”

The discussion turned into a debate. I had sales to get to, so I broke away and got going with my day.

Later that day, the CEO asked why I had not stayed for the rest of the conversation.

“I didn’t think I could add value and, to me, it seemed trivial. Whether we fix it now or fix it as part of the next release, I mean. Why do those 2 pixels matter so much?”

He nodded and then replied, “It’s a good question. The button looked off which weakens the product. A user may see this and then ask themselves what else is wrong with our app. Who knows where that thought takes them next? Details make or break a product. Even the tiny ones. Especially the tiny ones.”

I thought about that statement for a minute. I admitted, “I haven’t spent a lot of time with our app as a user.”

He smiled. I continued, “I know it inside and out but as the expert, not the user. You use our app all the time. You were fidgeting this morning. You were imagining what our customers must be thinking about those 2 pixels, weren’t you?”

He smiled again, this time tapping the tip of his index finger against his temple a few times, “Now you’ve got it.”

If you aren’t sweating the small stuff, get out of your perspective and get into your customer’s. The details matter. More than you know.

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