As product designers, we've been conditioned to figure out who our users are, and rightly so. After all, it's a waste of time and money to design a product without figuring out who will use it. But are we spending too much time on users that we're forgetting someone else?
Consider this. You build an awesome product, you launch it, and then wait to see what happens. You know your target demographic will adopt your product, but what about those other people who'll see it — like the early adopters who try a product and aren't likely to become long-term users? We're talking about the journalists, bloggers, marketers, and product junkies who will spread the news, who could easily make or break your product. That's because they are the most vocal with their opinions. So how would you want them to talk about your product?
As pointed out in this video from the folks at Penny Arcade, these "unintended users" can help transform an industry. Check out the video below, noticing the issues that game designers face when it comes to designing with these folks in mind:
Let's take the idea of a spectator from the video a step further. A spectator can also be seen as a potential customer. Someone who comes into contact with a product briefly, observing how it works, and may even take it for a spin. With that in mind, let's take a closer look at a couple points in the video:
- Accessibility. As the video points out, spectators want to understand how to use something, even if they aren't necessarily at the helm. They want to know the rules, even if they don't intend to play themselves. Another way to think about it is communicating your core value clearly.
- The human touch. As seen in the video, spectators are in it for the human touch. In the case of spectator sports, this translates into the drama of the game. But in product design, this translates into the "why." Simon Sinek tackled this issue in his book "The Power of Why." Most designers tell others the ins and outs of their products then expect them to pay for it. That doesn't work. Users and spectators both need to know why they should care or why they should use your product.
It's imperative that we know who our customers are and what problem our products solve for them. However, it's also worthwhile to consider those casual spectators. Win them over and you'll be well on your way to transforming them into actual users.Hat tip to Dre from Wages of Wins for sharing this video with us.