Sunday, December 12, 2010

The shortest path is least stressful

In a world where human knowledge doubles every 5-10 years, product managers fight to reduce their product/service complexity from an end user perspective.
Lean experts will straightaway think about a product's internal complexity or externalising the complexity from the product. But I mainly refer here to the end user, who doesn't care about the development/production phase, but only his own experience.

Since I read this communities dominates post in August, I understood that my Internet blogger's mind, was still in 2005 when the Internet was still something hype. Today 1.4 billion users have an email (400 000 corporate ones) and 4 billion have an active SMS account. Today, even if I was blind, I wouldn't be able to escape hearing the teens' phone buttons clicking all day long.
Definitively, the user experience from a product interface and/or the user efficiency point of view, is not a static science. The design principles like the golden ratio seem to be anchored in our DNA, but human behaviour related to technology seems to move permanently. The tipping point may be somewhere the devices are transparent and do not need any set up time.
Each generation (~=30 years) used to push the rules from the previous one, but in our accelerating world, manners change more often.
While speaking about messaging, Mark Zuckerberg has this story about high school guys who explain gmail is too slow. Slow here, is not about speed, but about the email tool that needs an address, a title and a minimum writing practices. SMSes don't need all theses cumbersome context definitions and writing rules, they are the characterisation of the straightforward asynchronous communication.
SMS is the shortest path to a distant human, without stressing him to answer immediately.
Technologies succeed when they provide more comfort and the straightforward link between human beings. Think about it when you design your services/applications.

Sources :
Communities Dominate Brands : Preview of Mobile Stats to End of Year 2010: 5.2 Billion subscribers, 350M people got their first phone this year..
Communities Dominate Brands : 5 - 4 - 3 - 2 - 1, as in Billions. What do these gigantic numbers mean?
Wikipedia : Golden ratio
Youtube : Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg Tells All in Interview (2010)

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