The year is 1999. Your favourite band released a new tune on the radio. How many kids would you have to babysit to afford an album?
So you check out their MySpace page for new tracks. You beg your family to stay off the landline. You pop in the free AOL cd you got in the mail and double click the application. Static, whirring, and beeping noises fill your eardrums as the modem powers on.
After what seems like an eternity, you’re finally online. You painstakingly type out the web address and hit enter. The images slowly fill the screen like a checkboard as the page loads.
Victory is yours as you press play on the song you want to hear.
Can you imagine going through this amount of effort to listen to a song today?
In 1999, listening to music on demand was a luxury that gave poor young music lovers access to music you never had before. You were willing to put up with hiccups and long upload times because it was still faster/better/cheaper than the alternative and it gave you a deep sense of satisfaction.
A Rising Tide Raises all Expectations
When technology is new AND helping us do something important to us, we’re far more willing to tolerate bugs, hiccups, and delays. However, as internet-based technology has matured and become more prevalent, our collective tolerance for these inconveniences has decreased.
Our baseline for connected quality digital experience has increased at an unprecedented rate. And these expectations aren’t just for consumer products, they’re also our expectations for our experiences with traditional offline products and services (like books, and construction), and have impacted our expectations of how we engage with our work.
Long gone are the days where the software dictates the process. Now, we expect the technology to work for us. And with so many options, we’ll simply go somewhere else.
Acquisition and Retention by Paying Attention
To create loyalty in the modern marketplace, your product needs to be truly relevant to your market.
These three questions provide an excellent foundation to understanding what is relevant to your users and where to focus your product brainstorming:
But the most important question of them all:
- How important is this to them?
And to make it more complex – what someone thinks is important to them and what may actually be important to them are different. For instance, you might buy a new pair of shoes because you think they’ll make you look cool, but if they’re not comfortable, they may sit in your closet.
It’s the same with digital products.
Creating Meaningful User Experiences
In order to understand what will attract clients to your product, you need to have an understanding of what’s important to them and how to stand out in the marketplace.
In order to retain users, you need to deeper understanding of what they’re doing, how they’re doing it, and why so that you can create reliable, convenient, pleasurable, and ultimately meaningful experiences.
This gap between an experience and a meaningful experience that creates loyalty is called “The Chasm”. It’s the same chasm you must cross in order to scale your product from early adopters into market majorities.
This pyramid of user needs created by Stephen P. Anderson. Is a brilliant illustration of how meaningful products are built on a foundation of reliability and usability. But to create “cross the chasm”, you need to truly understand your user.
*Credit to Stephen P. Anderson
Do you want to cross the chasm?
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Adelle Rewerts is a Principal Consultant and User Experience Architect in Online’s Digital Studio. She’s been at the forefront of digital product strategy for over 20 years. Her background in innovation, product, data, and user experience to align business visions, technical realities, and user context to create effective products. But the best part is the way she empowers and engages teams to do great work.