I'm using a code editor, called Visual Studio Code. I've seen a couple of surprisingly hidden, yet super handy features while I've been using it. Each time I found one, I loved using it, and even recommending it, more and more.
To mention an example, in a code editor, we often need to quickly create a new file. Sometimes it needs to be in folders, sometimes a few levels deep, as you want to organize your project. For example:
/docs/chapter1/newfile.md. I'm used to it, the tedious task of making one folder (
docs), then another one (
chapter1), and then finally, the new file (
I've done this many times, so I'm used to it. But every time we do this unnecessary task, a small pain.
Smart folks working on the Code editor did something about this. You hit New File button, and you're supposed to type in a file name, but you type
Since there's no way to include a
/ in a file name, they can know you surely wanted to put the new file in two-level nested folders. They create the folders (unless they already exist) and then create the new file inside the last folder.
You could never know about this feature. But one time you try typing in a path in the prompt—when you're doing it very quickly that you just do it—and it would automagically work! It feels insanely good.
This simple rule of happiness applies to any kind of business, too. It's been proven in a number of consumer studies that the vast majority of people will happily pay for better service.
... it would automagically work! It feels insanely good.
What is a surprise? A favour that you didn't expect. A favour or feature that the product wasn't supposed to offer, at no extra costs.
In the example above, the surprise was a handy shortcut.
Think of this moment. You decided to sign up for a service or to buy a product. How do we normally get to that point? You've read the product's features on the landing page. You almost clearly know what it's going to do for you.
You start using it, it does what it's supposed to do. So far, if it does its job, you should be happy.
But... how you'll be in love with it? I mean, by your heart❤️, not your mind?
Suddenly, you triple-click on their logo, a super cool animation starts happening. Then, the app switches to a secret dark mode. It looks amazing! You discovered it! As you didn't expect it, Surprise! 🎉 This is just one kind.
Another example would be how Apple doesn't mention some little updates to the OS. But users naturally discover them. You discover a very handy, unnoticeable, feature. Who doesn't love it?
They want to make you happy. They want to deliver outstanding experiences for you. Makers have spent extra time and care to ensure you're having a surprisingly good memory of using their product. I bet it feels good for anyone.
No one has told you there will be this small, helpful feature hidden somewhere. You naturally found it, and it came in handy. So, by using the product more, you might find more of these little features. The best part? This effect adds up when the user finds another surprise! It deepens their connection to the product!
There's a super interesting study to support this essay's opinion. It showed when a waiter left two mints for customers with their bill they received 21% more in tips. Such a small gesture can always have a considerable impact. As a result, there's an even more considerable effect from the customer's side!
When someone leaves you with a gift, one of the natural human responses is the desire to give back. In this example, to pay more in tips, happily.
Makers have spent extra time and care to ensure you're having a surprisingly good memory of using their product.
So far, I convinced you to think about amazing surprises while designing the product. I'd go one step further and recommend a few resources to learn practical tips for this matter.
 Photo by Darius Bashar on Unsplash
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— Written by Mo!