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Keep it simple silly

WhatsApp initially didn't have the option to reply to messages right from the notification on the phone. When they introduced it, it was a big success as it made it that much easier for users to respond to messages. All they did was remove one additional click that was needed before.

Having worked on Internet products for several years now, I always look for such ideas to make it easier for our users to get things done. One of the most important tenets of product design is 'Keep it simple'.

Make it easier to fill out a form and submit it and more people will do it than before. This is what Chrome did when they introduced the auto-fill option.

Pick up any product that you use and you will see this design principle in play. Product designers all over the world are figuring out easier and simpler ways for their users to interact with the products they are building.

All so that these users spend more time or more money on their products.

This is such a well established and proven principle that I take the same approach to designing my life.

For the things that I want me to do, like get up in the morning and go for a workout, eat healthy, etc, I design my interactions in such a way that it makes it so easy for me to get them done. I stock up my refrigerator with healthy foods so that even at times when I'm too lazy to prepare a meal, I have easy alternatives at hand than picking up the phone and ordering a pizza. I have my workout clothes and shoes all laid out next to my bed before I go to sleep so that all I need to do is wake up and put them on and head out.

And for the things that I don't want me to do, like spend more time on social media and email, be interrupted by notifications from several apps on my phone, etc, I design my interactions in such a way that it makes it a little bit harder to do those things. This is the same principle that the likes of Facebook apply to deactivating your account or the likes of email marketers apply to the option to unsubscribe from their emails. When the buttons to do these are hidden behind tabs and menus and need users to confirm their choice again and again and provide a reason for unsubscribing, all the designers are doing is adding more obstacles to what the user wants to do. And that works. For every obstacle they add, a percentage of users that attempt to unsubscribe or deactivate their accounts don't end up doing it.

So I add similar obstacles to my interactions. By not asking my browser to keep me signed in to Facebook or my email, I have to login every time I want to use it - extra step that dissuades me. By turning off notifications, I have to proactively open and check to see if something is new - extra step that dissuades me. By putting my phone on airplane mode while working, I need to click a button and wait for my phone to connect back to the Internet before I can do anything - extra step that dissuades me.

These are tried and tested methods that are employed by every product out there in the world. All you need to do is to design your life using the same principles.

And you can be as successful as any of these products.

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