There are many ways to please your users, but in this post, I will touch on one simple approach that’s targeted toward the curious.
Add alternative approaches
Simplicity is a trait I think should be strived for in all design, but that doesn’t mean it must come at the cost of functionality. But how you may ask… you add in secret features, well kind of. What you really want to do it allow the user to accomplish goals in different ways, and when you put that idea into practice you usually end up with an obvious easy to understand the approach, and a more discrete quicker approach.
Take the copy functionality in Microsoft Word, or really anywhere you type nowadays. How did you first learn to copy a word? Did you click and drag over the word to highlight it, then click the edit tab in the menu and select copy? I’m guessing a good number of people learned this way, as did I. It’s pretty intuitive highlighting a word that way, and the menu structure was descriptive enough for people to navigate to the copy button.
But I’m guessing most of you don’t use the copy feature that way anymore. (if you do I’m about to blow your mind). Why don’t you? Because it’s slow, there’s so many steps. Why spend the time to click and drag the length of a word when you can just double click it, and use the hotkey ctrl+c to copy the word. Could you imagine the sluggish world we’d be living in if that feature wasn’t available?
It’s ok if it’s not obvious
Hotkeys we’rent made for your grandma, they were made for people using a keyboard on a regular basis. That’s why its ok for an alternative approach to be a little less intuitive to discover, the users that need it will learn.
Why not start by making the the copy feature only accessible through hotkeys, get rid of the slow approach altogether and make the whole thing simpler, right? Maybe in some cases, but not here because hotkeys aren’t intuitive. You should make the features known to the user, but they don’t have to be as easy to spot. Next to the copy option in the menu the hotkey is displayed, it’s subtle and that’s why its their for the curious.
Thanks for reading. Let me know if you agree or disagree, or if you have any other examples down in the comments.