If you want to know why some apps are so popular and others are not, I have a few thoughts on that.
Over the course of a year at a digital technology company, I analyzed the adoption pattern for a product or function.
To understand this pattern, let’s discuss a few key points.
First of all, why do we do something – to satisfy our physiological, emotional or any other needs.
How we do something – we use tools, monitor processes and do other necessary things.
Why do we choose a particular process or tool? Because we believe that this tool or process will help us meet that need.
Let’s say there are two tools or processes, how do we choose one of them?
- We already know how to work with this tool or process, or we know that it is easy to use.
- We love this tool or process.
Have you noticed something special? Here we find aspects of choosing and using a particular tool or process to accomplish a task. So let’s take a quick look at these aspects:
1. User need
2. Waiting or being aware of the decision
3. Ease of finding a solution
4. Ease of use and learnability
These aspects are very important for the acceptance of a product (digital or tangible). So let’s put them into context and break down each in detail.
The product and function must be based on the urgent needs of the users. If something doesn’t solve the problem, then it is not a solution. Your design team can help you understand the user’s needs and goals. There are many research methods and frameworks, such as JOBS TO BE DONE, to help you understand the needs of your users.
Expectation or awareness
The user needs to know that your product or feature can solve the problem they are experiencing. If someone does not know about an airplane, then it would never occur to him that in this aluminum box one can fly from one place to another. Many times you may have explained the simple functions of a mobile phone to your parents. You should explain them not because they are complex or poorly designed features, but only because your parents do not know about them. So, how can we inform our users about a product or function:
A. Seek help from the product marketing team (the usual way).
B. Use digital acceptance tools like WhatFix and create pop-ups to explain the newly added feature to the user.
Ease of detection
Users should be able to find a product or feature easily. One smart guy once said, “The best place to bury something so no one can find it is on the 2nd page of Google results.” It doesn’t matter how good your product is if the user can’t find it. That being said, you won’t get any feedback on this issue until you complete a usability test.
So if you have a new app or website, do search engine optimization (SEO), social media optimization (SMO), etc.
If this is a feature in an existing product, the problem may be due to poorly designed information architecture, insufficient visual weight, etc.
If the reason is lack of visual weight, your life becomes easier, take any digital acceptance tool and use their highlight tool (Whatfix calls this tool beacons to grab the user’s attention and make your function more discoverable.
If it’s a poorly designed information architecture, you need to go back to user research and redesign.
Learnability and ease of use
The product should be simple, no manual is needed to use it. If your function is difficult to use, it is easy for the user to get frustrated and switch to a better alternative. Understanding the user’s mental model is critical in creating an easy-to-use function. There are many design research artifacts and processes to understand the mental model.
If the cost of iteration and change is too high, you can educate users. There are many ways to educate people about software, yes, go back to tools like Whatfix.
If you don’t have the problems described above, then you should pay attention to the general experience of using the tool. Experience can make your product successful or break it down. It should be chosen as decisively as possible, based on user needs and context.
Unfortunately, experience is the most misunderstood and used word. Let me explain how important this is. Consider a couple of scenarios:
Scenario 1: Suppose you are in a grocery store during quarantine and are socially distancing. You paid for your purchases using an electronic payment application and showed your mobile phone screen to the merchant to confirm the payment. In this scenario, a fluid design to quickly display the status of a transaction will be more useful than a beautifully designed GIF animation that takes a few seconds to display.
Scenario 2: You launch a game on your mobile phone and you know it takes a while. In this scenario, an exquisitely designed GIF animation can explain a certain context during game loading. She can help you understand the game and attract you.
Therefore, experience should be based on needs and context.
Now, whenever you are planning a new feature or product, think about these aspects to benefit yourself and your users.
I hope this article was helpful to you.
Special thanks to
Ashutosh Upadhyay: For prompting me to write my observations and research results.
Himanshu Pathak: For creating contextual graphics and helping to create this concept.
Swati Bhatnagar: For editing this article.