Q&A: what user trends do you see?

Q&A: what user trends do you see?

I was recently asked this question:

Are you seeing any key trends from the user perspective that companies need to be thinking about at the aggregate level?

Read on for my answer:

Ooh. It’s difficult to say, really. I guess the main thing that maybe I am seeing as a general trend is that users don’t care about your products. And I know that sounds quite harsh. But they’re bothered about solving their own problems first and foremost. Your products are simply a means to the end of solving those problems.

Users are always going to look at your product in terms of: “Does this make my life easier or not?” In government, one of the big challenges we had was that some of the government systems were immensely hard to use – the people processes, where they have to fill out a form and go to a particular place at a particular time to get a form signed and stamped and all that sort of nonsense. For people trying to use that service, it was often easier not to bother doing that thing at all than it was to try and go through that process.

So it was really, really, really important to make sure that whatever we created was better and helped them solve their problem in a way that made it a no-brainer for them to do that. And outside of government, whether you’re in software products or physical products or whatever else, users have a need, and their need is to solve a problem. Their need is not to use your product to do that, but if your product helps them to solve their problem, that’s when your product can be successful.


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Jock is a freelance head of product, author and conference speaker. He has spent nearly two decades working with technology companies to improve their product management practices, from startups to multinationals. His clients include the BBC, University of Cambridge, and the UK's Ministry of Justice and Government Digital Service (GDS).In 2012 Jock founded Product People Limited, a product management consultancy and training company. He is also the author of the popular book The Practitioner's Guide to Product Management and the blog I Manage Products.

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