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Software design and a developer’s mindset – Is all ‘user input’ an error?

by - ThoughtFocus | March 28, 2023 |

When Elon Musk, in conversation with Joe Regan commented ‘All user input is error’ he referred to the software design- a reference to the lack of ‘turn signals’ and ‘drive direction controls’ for the next version of Tesla’s Model S vehicle. Elon Musk’s final goal is to have a vehicle with ‘no steering’ (or yoke) for drivers to ‘engage at all.’   


How does this concept apply or translate into software, product, or app design? After much thought, this statement sounds very innate, logical, and sensible argument per se. Especially in current times where users have a short attention span. There is a need for design systems and things that facilitate users having minimal user interaction. While cutting down the number of steps for a user and making the user experience more engaging is becoming vital for success. Having more steps of interaction with an app, like a long checkout process in an airport- may turn into something of a bondage for users to carry, leading to user disengagement and withdrawal. So, developers should keep this aspect in mind at all costs. Remember, always design products, software, or app keeping the ‘user behaviour’ in mind. Take off that magnificent ‘developers’ hat and put on the ‘customer’ hat before working on the design. 



Viewing user input as ‘error’-incorporating the idea & providing a greater user experience
The more a user interacts with an app, the greater the chances of the user making ‘input errors.’ So, developers should focus on designing systems in such a way as to eliminate user error by input and reduce the number of steps when the user interacts with an app. They can do so by embedding intelligent systems which can self-learn and predict user activity the moment a user enters a mall or retail store. Intelligent, human-centric designs and architectures powered by technologies like facial recognition, predictive and recommender analytics, sensors, and GPS in an agile DevOps setting can drastically improve and provide intelligent user experiences that customers would love to experience.  


Developers and architects should first focus on the customer journey and customer problems and then tread back to technology solutions, but not the other way around and this is where more developers go of course. The first step in the right direction is vital – Always get a better understanding of the ecosystem in which the customer operates to get a better view of customer problems. Finally, have constant feedback systems (CI/CD and agile) in place to ensure you are staying on course.  


Overall, platform teams should always focus and give precedence to user experience over technical solutions or capabilities. Remember, the best ideas may come across industries that have the zeal to learn, embrace and implement innovative ideas to the best of your advantage. 


 If you are looking to create software designs, highly intuitive functional apps, and digital products that ease and engage your customers in a meaningful way, we can help.


For over two decades, ThoughtFocus has been helping global businesses improve their customer engagement with its deep domain, technology expertise, human-centric designs, IPs, and powerful accelerators. Our highly agile, experienced UI/UX, DevOps, and System Architects collaboratively work to create apps, software designs, and digital products that can significantly improve your business’ user experience, customer engagement and further drive better sales.


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