Edited quotes from Marissa Mayer, quoted in A Dozen Things I’ve Learned from Marissa Mayer about Business, Management, and Innovation by Tren Griffen:
When you can make a product simpler, more people will use it. When react to a product by thinking “Wow; this helps me do something I didn’t think I could do, or helps me do something I didn’t think I could do this easily” — that’s the mark of a great consumer product.
I think a great product is something where you see an acute user need and you solve it in a way that is frictionless and beautiful. You really hope there’s an element of personality and delight there.
But I do think it’s identifying the need and then finding an easy way to solve it. Sometimes you can solve it straight and head on, sometimes you solve it in an interesting way, sometimes it’s about innovation, sometimes it’s about coming at the product very much head on — but it’s really about having an eye for design and eye for the user need. How to not get in the user’s way. How can you just help someone immediately get something done, especially if they’re doing something every day, multiple times per day, you really want it to be something that is easy and fast and simple with nothing in the way.
(1) Re. “frequent user need” — see The relationship between frequency of habit and customer retention.
(2) Re. “with minimum friction” — see Andy Johns on how to build a winning product.