Making Products for the User's Entire Experience
I've observed increases in product adoption and satisfaction when makers orchestrate the user's entire experience, and design products to succeed in each phase of the experience. Here's a common experience:
Select → Acquire → Implement → Use → Improve → Update
Orchestration goals include eliminating surprises and delays in each phase, and reducing the effort needed to move from one phase to the next. This requires coordination of practitioners throughout the maker's organization (including product managers, functional and user interface designers, usability engineers, software architects, engineers, and testers, license and contract managers, marketers, sales representatives, provisioning managers, implementers, and support engineers).
Design goals depend on phase - for example:
- Select Clearly telegraph purpose, scope and usage during demos.
- Acquire Make it easy to contract for the product and take delivery. How does design enter into this? Consider a modular product: functional similarity, or incompatibility between modules, make acquisition harder.
- Implement Many single-user products make implementation simple: just a login or one-click install, then a minute or two of preference-setting. But when implementation must be more complex, self-guidance and diagnostics become valuable.
- Use This is familiar territory to most product makers; key questions often include: Is the product easy to learn? Easy to use? Satisfying? Reliable?
- Expand Give users ways to accelerate and enrich the actions performed most often, automate processes, and expand the product's uses.
- Update This is also familiar territory to most makers; in addition to product improvement, some common goals are accommodating legacy functionality and offering backward compatibility.