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Hierarchy of a (digital) product's needs

You are a product designer, developer, writer, information architect, etc. and somebody asks you Is [enter your expertise here] important?, you will answer Sure, because it makes [xyz] better..

But how important are you for the success of a product? Or maybe asked better: When are you important to a product?

The following pyramid depicts the hierarchy of a product's needs (borrowed from Maslow). Which aspects are totally necessary, which are useful and which just icing on the digital cake?

Pyramid depicting the needs of a digital product

5: Access → Can I use/try your product?

(Price, availability, accessability, language, ...)

Is it available in their country? Can they afford it? Can they physically use it? Is it in a language they understand?


4: Utility → Do I need your product?

(Useful features, stability, ...)

Does your product solve a problem for people? Does your product work well (enough)?


3: Experience → Do I understand your product?

(Structure, flow, performance, ...)

Is your product well structured and thought through? Is it responsive? Are things where people expect them to be? (Often called UX design)


2: Aesthetics → Do I recognise your product?

(Color, brand, typography, common icons redesigned ...)

Does your product (visually) stand out? Can people recognise it from screenshots? (Often called UI design)


1: Delight → Am I enjoying your product?

(Motion & sound design, witty copy, ...)

Is your product delightful to use?


Let me know what you think about this: @st_phan on Twitter or send me a mail to hello ät stephanbogner dot de – Cheers!