Lenticular Design

Businesses always face a difficult challenge in winning market share from competitors. Product design is more often than not, the dilemma.

Should the product be simple enough so that it is easily adopted? Or should my product be catered to the “pro” users who can use it to the maximum potential?

However, if the product is too simple, it would be easily replicated by competitors and “pro” users wouldn’t use it.

On the other hand, if I make the product too complex with all the functionalities it can get, it would be a steep learning curve for users and adoption rate will be very slow.

Let’s make a product that’s somewhere in between then! Which might fail in the end as it attracts neither spectrum of my user base…

So, as you can see from the above, it is incredibly difficult to come up with a product that could fit everyone needs. How can businesses maximize their customer acquisition or conversion efforts then?

The answer is in the picture above: Lenticular Design

It comes from lenticular printing of art or pictures which presents you a different picture depending on which angle you see from.

Mark Rosewater “MaRo” (Head designer Wizards of the Coast) has coined Lenticular Design in his product works over the years on how he solved a dropping user base and ultimately the dilemma in making a product for both casual and expert users. (you can read more about his work here in his specific field)

However, I would like to apply MaRo’s lenticular design concept in other products that we see as well. Why some products seems to gain traction so quickly and highly praised by both casual and professional users?

First, to summarize on what is exactly lenticular design.

  • It is basically a product designed such that a user does not need any training (or an instruction manual) to use it but at the same time could be used (or has an option to be used) at high complexity to fulfill professional needs.
  • A casual user do not see the high complexity behind the product and is thus not deterred by the high learning curve of the “optional complexity”
  • The more experience the user or the higher skilled the user is, the more the user can make use and explore the product’s complexity to maximize the use of the product

Now, you might be thinking “Are you sure such a product even exist?? Sound impossible”

A Piece of Paper

To any causal user, it is plain simple to use. Write/draw something on it.

But, crush it and it becomes a paper ball, fold it and it becomes a plane, fold and draw on it in a very specific way and it becomes the picture you see in this article (lenticular angle) that could give you two pictures in one.

Everything is on a spectrum, there usually is some level of “lenticularity” on most products. But what we can do is to compare and see which is better at being lenticular to its users than the other:

Gmail vs Outlook

IRC vs any other chatroom program

iPad vs Surface

and many others

Thank you for reading.

~ It’s like a finger pointing to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory.​

If you liked what you read, do subscribe below and like our facebook page to get updates and join the discussion.