Jan 7th, 2019
Innovation is instrumental in solving some of the biggest problems in the world. It has been lauded and encouraged by companies globally.
Resorting to innovation often leads to a distinct competitive advantage as well as cost efficiency.
Despite the number of books and articles written on the topic, we really need to understand when you should and should not innovate.
If you think, you need to innovate everything in your design process to bring out the best outcomes for your product, you’ll be surprised.
You can’t and you shouldn't try to innovate everything. Let us try to uncover 5 reasons why you should not go about innovating everything:
1. Innovating an experience that is not the main use case of the product won’t add much value
Do you know why?
It is estimated that almost 80% of the experiences in a product are used only for about 20% of the time. These experiences don’t constitute the main use case of the product.
Profile pages, account settings pages, sign up pages are some of them. They are important, but not the reason why users are there.
Innovating such experiences will not add much value to the overall product. Rather, it is a wiser decision to spend more time innovating the core experience of the product. This core will be used 80% of the time.
2. Every innovation adds up an additional cognitive load for the user
Your design should be easy for the user. The goal is not to overwhelm them with complexities.
“If you complicate, you lose” - should be your mantra while designing.
When your innovative experience doesn’t add usability to the product, it’ll only make it difficult for the user to understand. Every such innovation increases the cognitive load. That’s detrimental to the overall user experience.
Anything that takes a longer time for the user, get rid of it.
Is your login screen too complicated? Get rid of it.
3. Don’t go against the user’s mental model.
Mental model is the perception a user has in the mind while he/she is using a product. They are based on many factors and elements.
While designing, It is imperative to not surprise users when they expect something from a particular action or an experience. When they can predict the outcome for an action, they feel like they’re in control.
This sense of control can go a long way in increasing their usability.
Innovations that seem to go against the mental model are assured to result in undesirable outcomes.
It is clearly outlined in Jakob’s law,
“Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know. Design for patterns for which users are accustomed”
For example, users are conditioned to how a “close button” works. If you innovate the button, you will be wasting their attention to unnecessary elements.
It’s new, but is it useful?
4. Time is limited and precious.
Implementing innovations take time. Even the innovations that are rarely used, require time to be designed, developed and tested.
There is a business decision to consider here.
Do you want to use your time and resources on innovations that are rarely used or would you rather use it on other impactful experiences?
When you direct your focus on designing, developing, and testing core features as opposed to supporting features, it can make a much bigger impact on the overall experience of the product.
For an enterprise app, the dashboard is one of the core experiences. Your product will be better off if you focus your resources on making the dashboard experience better as opposed to innovating a login page.
5. Innovating every touchpoint may reduce your overall ROI.
Closely associated with the previous point, maintaining these innovations is an expensive affair.
When investments are made into innovations that do not provide many returns, it’ll be hard for you to justify them.
Not only do these multiple innovations not provide more returns, but they may also negatively impact the current returns by frustrating users.
So, even from an economic point of view, having multiple innovations isn’t the right choice.
Before you go ahead with implementing a new innovation, an extensive analysis must be conducted on its future implications. This would help you identify the right innovations that will not lead to bombarding users with unnecessary innovations.