People love stories about tragedy, seduction and violence. Newschannels and advertising agencies rely on it to capture our attention. Together they create a modern mythology of angry young men on the street, slender women in bed and, of course, lots of sharks in the sea… Unfortunately, this appetite for drama also shapes our perception of the real world. This is called the availability heuristic: “ If something can be recalled, it must be important”.
What applies to people also applies to companies: what’s available must be important: we copy designs just because they’re popular. And so other companies will see our example as well and… well, so the meme spreads.
Sometimes this is a good thing. But sometimes, we just copy errors like hamburger menu’s on large displays and share-buttons on every single page that can be found on the internet. Sometimes the original design is great, but the copy is used for a totally different target group with different needs. But the fact that everybody’s doing it, is no proof that it’s working..
The solution to this problem? Do not be afraid to copy, but always relate to the initial problem that you were trying to solve.