Intentional Difficulty

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Chris Coyier on

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Here’s some food for thought.

When designing something that you are reasonably certain the user is willing (or forced) to invest time in learning to use proficiently, is it beneficial to intentionally make some tasks just slightly more difficult than they could be?

Not incredibly hard, not convoluted, not outright counter-intuitive. But perhaps making some information a little more buried, or placing an action in a slightly strange place. If the user is really looking, they’ll be able to find it.

Frustrating a user is never good, doubly so when you have competition a few clicks away. But forcing a user to do a little discovery and learn the specifics of this product/application/website might make them feel closer to it or more attached to it because they’ve already learned it.

I’m not advocating this, I’m just throwing it out there because I think it’s interesting. It’s certainly no excuse for bad design.