Must Use versus Want to Use

A while back I questioned for who we write software and later also came back on this with a reason why enterprise software sucks. Summarized I said that a lot of enterprise software is made for the decision maker and not for the end user. This results in that most users just use the software because they have to.

In the consumer space this is different, because people have choice and it's necessary to create software that people want to use. This is a lot harder, because there are no customer requests for features, no requests for information to lead the development effort. Instead of hard facts the development efforts need to be driven by emotion.

Why do people want to use Twitter? Not because it has so many features, just because it's cool and your friends are there. I also used Jaiku for a while, mainly because of my emotional connection with Finland, but it died off quickly. The product was actually a lot nicer than Twitter, but I had no friends there.

Many enterprise software vendors, including my employer Exact are slowly expanding their offerings with more social features targeting a broader audience. It's a logical trend, but a challenge for many corporate product organizations. They are so used to think in features, hypothetical use cases and user experience is often an after thought. Try do discuss taking features out, or suggest a radial change. There is always a reason NOT do so. It's necessary to get into the emotion and psychological behaviors of your users.

Just a few thoughts that might help here. Focus on only 80% of your users and the largest common denominator of features. If a feature doesn't fit in this set leave it out!. Keep it small and simple, deliver in small chunks and constantly evaluate feedback. It's the real user that determines the feature set, not your imaginable use case!

Let me know if you have any good ideas to shift towards product that people want to use!

Image credit: Jackie

Post a Comment