The great products have metaphors. These metaphors act like a spine, which frame and guide the user through critical flows, and potently make these products easy to understand, explain and remember:
- Apple created your ‘desktop’ on your computer screen, where you can move items into a ‘trash-can’ and ‘folders’
- Pinterest has ‘boards’ you create, applying ‘pins’ to them by the action of ‘pinning.’
- Twitter has ‘steams,’ with a ‘tweets’ flowing down them; you can also ‘retweet’ these ‘tweets’
- Facebook has ‘friends’ which you conned to in the act of ‘friending’ – you can also ‘like’ what your friend do
- Dropbox has its ‘Dropbox,’ where you ‘drop’ items into a ‘box’, so you can store and share them
When these products attain global scale, their metaphor become part of the fabric of society, as a cultural meme.
When architecting a product, take a page from the great ones, and use a metaphor throughout.