The Silver Lining Of Design – Part II

3 minutes read
crafted by , on 24 February, 2015, in

Getting back on track

In the previous article we’ve looked into what a hierarchy of human’s needs is. Now let’s try to understand how one should handle them and turn things for the better – for his audience and automatically for his business.

Hierarchy of needs in Design

Level 1 – Functionality. After I’ll type the address of a website and I’ll hit Enter… I MUST be served with the website – functional & navigational. The load time should be reasonable – my personal time is more valuable than anything else in the world. Links should work – don’t give me broken links that will take me to a dead end! Basically, I’m referring to a set of common sense functional features.

Level 2 – Reliability. Good, the website is accessible. But will this suffice? No. It must be reliable – you wouldn’t want to crash out of a sudden, because I’ve clicked something I shouldn’t have… Your site must be stable and display itself in a graceful manner, without being ruffled by new pages, sections or content. During my entire browsing session, the website must have the same performance, providing a flawless experience.

Level 3 – Usability. So, it’s functional and reliable. But can I use it with ease? I should be able to read the text without any problems (proper sized fonts – not too small, not too big). It shouldn’t give me headaches (adequate contrast). The navigation menu should be clearly structured, helping me to get from A to B, without inserting confusion in my head. I should be able to reach my goal fast, comfortably, without any stress.

Level 4 – Proficiency. Help users to do more on your website. Empower your users by giving them the ability to use your website in better ways than before, while they were navigating other websites. Create user-centered designs: by offering options for proficient-users, you’ll have a problem solving process that foresees how users are likely to use a product.

Level 5 – Creativity. With the previous four levels satisfied, you can now focus on exploring the ways through which your users’ experience can be highly improved. So, as a user I’m navigating a functional, reliable, usable and proficient website – amazing! But I want more! At this level I want to explore and discover, to learn more, to be amazed. Most believe this is the highest level of them all, but I strongly disagree – take a look at the next level.

Level 6 – Transcendence. Just like with the traditional pyramid – Maslow’s Hierarchy Of Humans Needs – a new 6th level should be reached: customer support and social entrepreneurship. Start carrying!

Designing for emotion

Focus on your users, focus on your business, focus on yourself and once you have all the five levels satisfied, turn your face towards greatness.

Evoke positive emotions! Instead of trying to sell something to people why aren’t you trying to help them? Offer them joy and satisfaction!

Remember – in order to move to the next level, the current level you’re on must be satisfied. While, in theory, this sounds great – leaving you under the impression that it’s easy to be achieved – in reality, it’s practice that can knock you down…

Care for your users and they’ll care for you too – you’ll receive valuable feedback, and based on it you’ll be able to conclude if a level is satisfied and if you’re ready to take the next step in your journey.


This article is part of a larger series about Igniting Your Startup.

About Ciprian Irimies

Ciprian is an UX Ninja, but what really makes him stand out of a crowd is the desire to venture into the unknown, to boldly face new challenges and the lack of hair on his head.