In test match cricket, when a fast bowler challenges the batsmen for their judgment of the off-stump, the target is to bowl in the corridor of uncertainty. This is generally on the fifth stump line and if bowled at the right length, the ball creates a doubt in the batsmen’s mind whether they should play or leave the ball. The batsmen are more likely to make a mistake and get out. Among the modern great fast bowlers, Glenn McGrath, Richard Hadlee, and Dale Steyn were the masters of this art.
Yesterday, I saw a tweet where a hotel has designed a corridor floor in such a way that the guests or visitors do not rush through the corridors. The hotel has used 3D carpets to prevent guests from running in the passage to make sure that the passersby are watchful while walking in the corridor.
I wondered how the guests will respond if there is an emergency and they need to run for something? For example, if a fire breaks out in a room or if there is a medical emergency?
Matt Puttick—a cricket writer rightly called such a corridor as the corridor of uncertainty.
This is exactly the way many product teams design products or plan important interactions to enhance the UX. The intention could be just right—to make something easy for the users, but the groundwork is not comprehensive and is one-dimensional.
While making something easier for the users or for one segment in the product audience, they end up adding some complexity or friction or doubts somewhere else or for someone else in their product experience.
This is why I say that innovation is overrated in product strategy and in the design.
I am often invited to many such hotels and I see such corridors frequently, here are a few examples—gender in the sign up form, form filling experience, the threat and the risk, the fragile foundations of an ecosystem, the validations, or the currency data use case as below.
The product content strategy can help the product and design strategy to plan for such use cases. As a practice, the product content strategists and content designers validate the assumptions of product teams.
When your team works on a product, watch out what acts as the corridors of uncertainly for the users. This is not a cricket match where they will get another chance—and they may not give you another chance.