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The user has no choice

Everywhere you look, you will find products designed in ways that allow the manufacturers of the product to push their agenda on the user at the expense of a delightful experience for the user. I use several such products myself and think how the respective design teams ever approved such horrendous user experiences.

To give you some examples, the push messages on your DTH connection by Tata Sky or Airtel where the annoying yellow mail icon refuses to go away from the screen unless you go read the message promoting some new package or reminding you to pay your next bill. The pop-up notifications from Telecom providers that highlight your remaining currency or data balance every time you finish a call or connect to the wifi.

These are designed with the assumption that the user has no choice today. Which may be true. But look what happened to auto rickshaws and taxi drivers who treated their customers as though they had no choice (when they really didn't). They gave rise to companies like Ola and Uber whose primary value proposition is to make the user experience delightful (or at least show a marked improvement on the default experience before).

The user may not have a choice today. But the way to build a loyal user base is by delighting them. Not by annoying them just because they do not have a better alternative today. That will not always be the case. Just like anyone who regularly uses Ola or Uber now cannot imagine going back to hailing an auto on the road, annoyed users will jump on to (and hold on tight) the first option they come across with a better experience.

The user does have a choice. And as a product designer, you have a choice too. 

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