CHI 2006: Phases of Use: A Means to Identify Factors that Influence Product Utilization
Edward Bosma: My company, Océ, is a kind of Xerox for the Netherlands. We have >24,000 employees in 80 countries.
At Océ we know how to design for use (fit to the task, make it easy to learn and efficient to use)... but this does not guarantee product success.
Sometimes the product is not installed correctly, does not fit with how people work, etc.
How do we design, not for use, but for experience?
We see experience with a product as a process. Identifying phases in this process can help to understand experience. We identified these phases, partly based on communication science and experience:
- Exposure: The product becomes available and fully operational.
- Awareness: user gets first impression.
- Motivation: user finds a reason to learn more.
- Orientation: user is getting to know how it works.
- Adoption: user applies the product in real life.
- Incorporation: use of the product becomes part of normal behaviour.
We looked at our past mistakes. We postulated that all preceding phases must be passed successfully to reach a given phase.
Design for exposure: ensure your product will become available and fully operational for the intended users. When we introduced a digital multifunction unit that would print as well as copy but looked almost identical to the analog, copy-only unit, we realized that people were still printing on the inferior, small desktop printer. We did a redesign that made people more aware of the product's affordances.
Design for motivation: seduce intended users. Think about how a product can address current problems, basic human needs.
Design for orientation: We threw in a tutorial and some small tests for better retention.
Design for adoption: make users apply the product in their real-life situation. What can withhold them from doing so? We must raise trust and confidence that everything will go right, at each step along the way. For this printer (shows behemoth piece of machinery) we implemented an initial phase in which the machine will only print the next job when the operator confirms that the previous job was successful.
Design for incorporation: build a long-term relationship between product and user.
Q. How do you balance ease of learning with efficiency? Have you considered having different interfaces for different users? What about the idea of having a barcode that I can use to reinstate settings I use often.
A. Requirements may conflict; our paper says you have to strike a balance among all.
Comment. Alan Cooper suggested a sliding panel. I'd love to see a copier that has something like that - a fat copy button and a panel that hides/reveals the complexity.
Comment. (Xerox guy). Do you have a product planning department? My observation has been that sometimes it's a battle between the usability guys and the marketing folks who want the new features.
Q. How do you measure adoption rates for this kind of product?
A. We have no quantitative data. This is based on field experience, sitting down with customers.
Q. In your scenario, probably the buyers are different from the users.
A. Good question. We focus on the end users. Our goal is not that the product be sold, it's that it be used properly.
Looks like a quite sensible model, will be helpful in structuring my thinking about the process of adoption.