Peter Merholz, President of Adaptive Path, asked this question in his presentation to the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association (MIMA) last week.
And, like any good presenter, Merholz strung us along before providing his answer.
Is it "Can't live without it"?
Is it "never breaks"?
Is it "highly profitable"?
The highest compliment a product can receive is–
Of course, the example Merholz offered was the iPod, whose virtues were extolled once again:
Joyous to use
All these add up to cool. To many, cool is the be-all and end-all. Cool surprises and delights. Cool is refreshingly new. Cool is unexpected, yet intuitive. Cool, it seems, transcends and encompasses all the other compliments.
All this makes perfect sense. What was a bit confusing to the Web designers, Web writers, and interactive marketing professionals I spoke with at the MIMA event was this: Why is the president of a user experience firm talking about product design to a group of interactive professionals?
Yes, yes, of course there are similarities between great product design and great Web design, chief among them a relentless focus on user needs and a quest to "design from the outside in," but what if we were to rephrase Merholz's question:
What's the highest compliment a website can receive?
OK let's face it: this could be controversial. For e-commerce sites, it's one answer. For news and information sites, another. For promotional sites, still another.
So which of Merholz's answers is the right one?
Can't live without it
What do you think?
Is cool the greatest compliment?
(I think "great content" is the greatest compliment.)
Take the first step (it's free).
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