Four Product Characteristics to Make Your Applications More Human

We use all kinds of different metrics to judge the quality of the experiences we create — from design best practices, to qualitative user feedback, to quantitative scoring (like NetPromoter), to internal KPIs such as reduced call center traffic. But is there a way to measure how friendly our applications are? How “human” they are?

While humanism is a subjective measure to hang your hat on, I’ve found certain product characteristics can provide designers, and their stakeholders, with an emotional gut check as to the potential reliability and engagement of your application. Take a look at these four characteristics (and the design heuristics that exemplify them), and when you’re pressing around a UX issue, ask yourself if your solution “feels” right.


Our applications know you have work to do and want to help without getting in the way. Our applications know when to whisper, and when to shout — when to give direction, and when to take it.

  • Communication is workflow-appropriate and focused on the task at hand
  • Interfaces should have everything within reach without being overwhelming
  • Whenever possible, we help with heavy-lifting and repetitive tasks
  • We take into account our user’s time, cognitive load and emotional state by writing for scanability, simplifying communication and using appropriate tone and voice 


Our applications give you the right tools for the job and designed with the result in mind. Sometimes there are many ways to do the same thing — our applications help you choose the best way.

  • Statuses and important information are clearly indicated with engaging visuals
  • Tools and workflows are easy to navigate and optimized for the most common workflows
  • Interfaces are improved with an explicit understanding of usage data and user needs
  • Microcopy is clear, concise and useful 


Our applications aren’t afraid to try something new or to find a better way to do the same old thing. We don’t buy into fads or follow trends. We set them.

  • We learn from patterns that succeed to broadly improve platforms
  • Visualizations help users understand their data and progress from multiple angles
  • Shape and motion are harnessed to create genuine engagement
  • Use messaging architecture to redefine how our products communicate and engage our users through voice and tone


Our applications know you are not an island and want to keep you and your data connection to everything that’s important. Every transaction and engagement has a history and a family — we know and respect that.

  • Products thoroughly store data that’s always accessible for users when they need it
  • Interfaces are accessible on any screen size to support use from any context
  • Navigation between common hubs is easy, and relevant data/workflows are made available where appropriate
  • Product support, knowledge base articles and Equinix business documentation should be accessible to users through search, contextually in workflows and via Help Resource Centers

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