Build a product for the people who will benefit the most from it.
Our appetite for progress is fluid. Sometimes we crave modest progress, for example, I want to learn Italian so I can easily order food in a trattoria. Sometimes it s about getting better and better until we are the best in the industry. After all, I want to feel the maximum financial comfort. I want to run as fast as possible. I want to be the best programmer.
If we create a product with modest expectations, it will only work for some… However, if we develop our product for people who want make the most progress, it will work for everyone.
Design the product to help the high-expectations customer make the most progress
To learn more about a high-expectation customer (HXC), read this article.
Progress is directly proportional to motivation
Customers with high expectations are not always power users of the product, but they are always the most motivated. It doesn t matter even if they are just starting to learn a new occupation. They are motivated to get better until they become the best in their field.
Progress is not exclusive to advanced users of the product. No matter what level the users are at, the product must try its best to make them better, ultimately they can become the best in their field.
If you re building a running app, the goal of the product is to help people become better runners. For example, improve your running pace from 7 min / km to 5 min / km (advanced) or just finish your first 5 km (beginner).
In fact, a rookie runner can become an HXC if, say, he signs up for his first marathon, which is 6 months from now. He will first use the app to check the distance traveled or calories burned. Since your product helps it improve its performance, it will benefit more from it, such as tracking pace, heart rate, etc.
However motivated customers with high expectations are, we cannot rely on their level of motivation alone. To help them get started, we must offer them a head start.
Leap of Faith
Thanks to my children, I regularly visit the trampoline park! In addition to the trampolines, the park has another attraction called Leap of Faith. You climb a high platform, come to its edge. Ahead hangs the semblance of a giant punching bag. Jump forward and grab onto it.
You are wearing protective gear and the elastic rope will gently lower you after the jump. Technically, nothing can go wrong, but it doesn t make things any easier. Most children freeze right at the edge of the platform. You see that they want to jump. Friends and parents downstairs cheer them on. The instructor tells them that they are able to do it. Yet they cannot jump. The more they think, the worse it gets. They don t jump and end up walking down the steps, unhappy with their experience.
Good jumpers do this without hesitation. They just grab the pear hanging in front.
It s scary to take on a new challenge, learn a new skill, do a new trick. The more we think about it, the more complicated it looks. The task of going all the way can seem long and daunting, even for motivated people.
To encourage them to take a leap of faith in your product, offer them a quick jump (no problem) and a punching bag (an achievable goal right now)
Sites like Codecademy have changed the way people learn to code. Button “Start“ allows the user to start learning without a second thought. Even if you do not know what a computer program is, you are already typing something like code in the black editor window. Button “Run“ – this is the same pear. Before you know it, you ve already started your first program!
It is much more likely that a beginner will continue learning in a similar way, and not according to the textbook.
To maintain momentum, we must lead users on a path that is free of any distractions.
Yellow brick road
Digital products and services constantly crave our attention and participation. We spend more time figuring out what is better to do than the actual activity. Even after making a choice, there are always triggers that stimulate our fear of missing out on something important.
My banking app keeps showing me irrelevant offers. In the taxi ordering app, a food advertisement appears when I try to order a car.
Each decision point increases the cognitive load. We product designers are responsible for design. The task becomes more difficult when the product requires a consistent and long-term commitment from the user, such as learning the tool, improving fitness, saving money, etc. How to find a balance where the application requires less from the user (time, effort, etc.) ), but gives him more?
We must choose the most optimal linear path with control points. At any time, users must know their position according to the action plan and where they are going.
This is not about making the product primitive. The user with high expectations is smart, but he is also a busy person. It s about eliminating cognitive exhaustion and getting a bang for your buck
Singapore Changi Airport is the most efficient airport in the world. It always takes me no more than 15 minutes to register! If a queue of more than 8-10 people starts to gather, one more employee is connected and speeds up the process of passenger check-in. People love to spend their free time shopping and enjoying the experience that the airport has to offer.
Once you relieve a high-expectations user of cognitive overload, it frees up time and energy to maximize the benefits of your product / service.
Elevate, the popular brain training app, offers users 10-15 minutes of daily exercise. This is a personalized plan based on your starting preferences and progressive levels of performance. Imagine how annoying it is when you have to check your latest scores every time, choose a category (writing, listening, speaking, reading, math), and choose from dozens of games in each category. The saved energy and time can now be used for other games in addition to the assigned exercises.
I m good! ?
The game has begun. A user with high expectations begins work on the action plan you have developed. Initial progress is a joyous event! If he is learning a foreign language, mastering 5 new words every day is progress. If he learns to play the piano, then every day he plays 2 new notes. For someone who has never run before, 30 minutes of running is progress. Everything goes well.
Personal records go one after another! You are like Super Mario, invincibly marching through the Mushroom Kingdom
Then there comes a point where moving forward becomes more difficult.
The tasks are getting harder. Nuances appear. Smaller details start to matter. In order to speak a new language, play complex compositions, run uphill at a steady pace, you need to make much more effort than before. This is starting to depress.
The more progress, the more difficulties
At this stage, most people quit, thinking that this is the best they can do. To help the user with high expectations continue to work at this stage, notify them in advance that the difficulty level will increase and it will be difficult for any user. Show him how far he has come. It is important to communicate that the next level is within his reach.
Elevate notifies you that you need 50 more points to reach expert level in this skill. Even if you are unable to maintain the running pace you expected, Runkeeper notes that you ran longer than usual!
I m in the zone!
Once you help users overcome the difficulties, things will become clearer. The challenges are still challenging, but Super Mario Mode is back. The user with high expectations continues to progress confidently. He is in a “zone” where it seems that everything around him is connected with what he is studying.
Do you know the feeling when you ve learned a new word and start seeing it everywhere? This is the result of selective attention. When the brain learns something new, it begins to pay more attention to noticing it in the world around it.
Now is the time to give users the “ultimate” inspiration. Our brains are designed to form connections that will drive our progress. For example, watching Eliud Kipchoge run can help runners improve their running technique. Viewing photos of the most beautiful places in the world can inspire them to relax. However, research warns against this kind of exposure before the user tries the activity and realizes the effort it takes. A person who does not have the necessary experience may think: “This is not so difficult, I can do it,” without realizing what is needed for this.
He became an expert
Other people see the user s progress with high expectations and strive to emulate them. They want to try a new product that the “expert” recommends to them.
“A few months after the birth of her baby, my friend started using HIIT, a yoga app. She looks better now than before. She didn t just get back in shape, she even started kayaking! I ll try this fitness app too! “
In the eyes of a person with high expectations, this is constant progress. The stages covered (I m good, I suck, I m in the zone) don t always stay linear. However, as soon as users return to the zone, they feel better.
It s not just about high expectations from the product. Users have high expectations for themselves. Project their progress and they will sell your product to other people