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#66 - Desire Lines

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Article written by
Juan Jesús Millo

What are desire lines?

How many times have you gone to a park and found alternative paths created by the people themselves who are taking a walk and want to shorten the path? This is a clear example of a people-centred design created by the people themselves. We are looking at a model of desire lines.

Is it a design that has failed? Has the designer not thought of all the casuistries where the user was in a hurry? Not at all, in iterative design failure does not exist, otherwise we would be talking about design with a full stop, and that is not our intention.

Desire lines in product design

It is a perfect example that the design is not optimised for certain profiles, who want to get from point A to B faster or more comfortably. The wider and more defined the line, the more demanded the alternative navigation will be.

But that this happens is the best thing that could happen to us, because we have clear feedback telling us what people want. We should use this to our advantage and in the example above, we could pave it.

But how can we find out the desire lines in an app or website? In thousands of ways, such as looking at users' search history, heatmaps, click paths, feedback loops... We will know more about the users' usage pattern and check if the design is optimised to complete the tasks they demand and not the tasks we think they demand.



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