Although it may not seem like it, what we experience and what we remember are in fact two very different things. Most product design strategy is directed toward experience, but cognitive scientists say that we should really focus on memory instead because our memories drive the majority of our decision-making.
Here is a cheat sheet by Fast Company for creating memorable design:
The evaluative remembering self drives decision-making. The evaluative “remembering self” drives the majority of our decision-making and it is mainly concerned with two areas: peaks and ends. How was an experience at its best or worst moments? And what was the feeling as the experience came to a close? The influence of the “remembering self” leads us to choose between products or experiences and memories of those experiences.
Beware difficult last steps. If your last touchpoint with a product is a negative one, it can color the entire memory. Take kitchen appliances, which have clean up and put-away efforts that are easily overlooked. The Acme Juicerator, for example, which requires significant amounts of post-juicing cleaning and disassembly, may get relegated to below-the-counter status, despite the fact that the juicing experience itself is effective. On the other hand, when a product has been thoughtfully designed to offer a positive ending, the user walks away more satisfied.
Make it multisensory. Research suggests that customers perceive higher-frequency door slam sounds as signs of structural weakness and fragility. Deeper, bass-ier sounds on the other hand, communicate that the door has been shut successfully and that the car is structurally robust. Sound design is an important part of car design overall, but a good, solid door thud imparts confidence, trust, and status.
Annoying details can create wells of user resentment. Little details can create deep wells of user resentment, especially in recurring product interactions. For example, Bank of America’s ATM’s create shrill beeping sounds when printing receipts and while customers finish their regular deposits and withdrawals.
Provide positive feedback. Every product sign-off moment is an opportunity to provide feedback, on both emotional and functional levels. The Nest Protect, for example, tried to disrupt the smoke detector market by creating an interactive product. Nest’s designers realized that the Protect could alert users to the presence of danger while also providing emotional reassurance when everything was normal. So when a Nest owner turns off her lights, the Protect pulses green before going dark, signaling to the home’s inhabitants that it’ll remain present and attentive, even while they rest. This creates a sense of pride and satisfaction while providing concrete feedback on operating the vehicle efficiently.