This article was published in April 2015 issue of SiliconIndia.
Date: Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Many of us touch great product experiences every day. Apple is first and foremost the king of hardware design and have made product design a must with the phenomenal success of their products. As you think of designing product for your startup, you must understand that it\'s much more than a beautiful user interface. It\'s a state of mind. It\'s your approach to a problem. It\'s how you\'re going to stay ahead of your competitors. Typically the key elements of a beautiful product design include innovative, useful, aesthetics, unobtrusive, long lasting and thorough yet simple. This article brings invaluable insights from one of the obsessive product expert Rajatish \"Raj\" Mukherjee, currently SVP of Product at GoDaddy. Raj is responsible for GoDaddy\'s efforts to help small businesses be successful online. He leads a team that focuses on providing the easiest way possible to start their online presence, from mobile all the way to seamlessly enabling small businesses to market and transact, from anywhere and at any time. Prior to joining GoDaddy, Raj worked at Google as a Product Manager leading a team for Google Apps for SMBs. Raj was also a Sr. Product Manager for the Online Services division at Microsoft working on product and business strategy for Office 365.Based on my recent discussions with him, here are four key take away (4KTA) points that center on the concept around creating a wow product.
1. Exceptional Landing Page Design
When you think of the key elements of a Software Product delivered for consumption to the customers as Software as a Service (SaaS), the concept of packaging is entirely different than what you normally expect if you were to buy hardware product. For hardware products, the box that carries the product drives the end user experience. The wow user experience, however, in a software product is felt and perceived differently. It needs to begin as soon as somebody gets to visualize elements of your product. The first place where people visualize that is at the landing page of the software. Now as the user lands on that page, you must have an eye-catching \"Call to Action\" (CTA) functionality for the user to act upon. Next it needs to have a clear value proposition. The user must feel and experience that he is walking away with some value. The users nowadays expect a fully enriching experience. For example, if you land on Groupon\'s landing page, it immediately uses the data it has on you to know where you are from and will show deals from that area. Through using data, design and basic smarts, you can build an effective landing page without that, your product will not be \"opened\".
2. Great On-boarding Flow
There are a variety of onboard flows depending upon the kind of software you are delivering to the customer. The first and most important thing is a simple and intuitive sign up process. The process needs to be incredibly simple. It should ask for only required information and automatically use all the data you have on the customer without having them to re-enter it. The next important element is having a guided tour of the product or having a tour video to educate the customer. Now remember that no matter what your on boarding experience is, assume many users won\'t go through the user documents or related tools to learn about the product functionality completely. This means that the product needs to be amazingly intuitive and contextual enough that users can figure out 80% of its functionalities and use it effectively just by playing with it. This is like a "payoff quotient" in the on boarding experience. For every task, you must save at least 10X that in some form in the product experience. Most SaaS products do not keep this simple \"payoff quotient\" in mind.
3. Product That Leads to Habitual Usage
How do you get customer to get hooked to your product and bring the customer back and for what? For instance, if you have an email application, they are going to use it regardless. Now what if you have built an expense reporting application, how do you get people to understand the activities they need to perform? The expense reporting application is not really fun that users gravitate toward it. Take for example. At the end of the month, the application notifies the user that it\'s been thirty days. It\'s time for him to fill an expense report. And it automatically adds the right transactions from the credit card that user has used. The idea is that the application does not make the user do drudgery work but rather enables user\'s life extremely easy and simple. For example, when you swipe your credit card, it automatically remembers your email and sends the receipt. These seemingly simple things create moments of delight for the user and help build a connection between the user and the product and convert him into a habitual user. You may want to read \"Hooked\" to understand design principles that could be applicable to your product as well.
4. It Should Just Work
Once the product is launched for public consumption, it should just work. Asusers begin to use it, if at any time for any reason whatsoever, it suddenly stops working or the performance begins to degrade due to poor internet connection, the first thing users do is to blame the product. If you ask your engineering team about it, they will report back that server is up and network is functioning properly. As a customer centric product manager, you need to ask, \"What is the user\'s experience with the product regardless of whether server is up or infrastructure is running smoothly or not?\" How do you react when something goes wrong with the product? How do you continue to build trust with the user? How do you keep the trust by failing gracefully? A graceful failure implies you inform the customer and advise accordingly. For instance, Skype informs you when your internet connection is bad and asks you to switch off the video so you can have a delightful experience. This is failing gracefully.
The author is Co-Founder of AURISS TECHNOLOGIES INC. and a serial entrepreneur based in Silicon Valley, California. Learn more at www.4KTA.comand follow Naveen on twitter @Naveen_4KTA