Saturday, September 23, 2006

Why they don't upgrade (and what to do about it)

How people feel about products they use and why they don't upgrade ...

"Why is it that--after we bust our ass to produce a shiny new version of our product--users are so slow to upgrade? WE know it's better. WE know it'll help them kick ass in new ways. WE know that if they stick with their current version, they'll never truly become passionate...because they'll never touch that high level of expertise where things get really really interesting. But there our users sit, apparently content to hang out in the "competent" zone, happy they no longer suck, but unmotivated to push forward. That's a problem.

And I'm not talking about the financial side. Even if we make no money off our upgrades, we still want our users learning and growing and improving and reaching for new challenges and doing more complex, cool things. (Assuming you ultimately want passionate users, which if you're reading this blog...)

So why are users dragging their feet? Why aren't they desperate to get the latest and greatest spanky new release? Conventional wisdom says it's because of the expense, or that users fear change, or that users are simply too lazy. But there's a simpler explanation:

People don't upgrade because they don't want to move back into the "Suck Zone."
They worked too damn hard to reach a level of competence and the thought of sinking back down--however briefly--into that awful state they clawed their way out of--is too unpleasant. We've trained users to fear upgrades. Raise your hand if you've ever installed an upgrade only to find yourself back in that confused I-have-no-frickin'-clue-where-they-put-that-dialog-box state? Raise your hand if you felt the upgrade just wasn't worth it, even though you knew that the way you did things in the current version was pretty much an inefficient hack. Raise your hand if you felt intimidated and maybe even a bit humiliated that after upgrading you could no longer do some of the simplest things.

It's not usually the upgrade that sucks. It's that the upgrade makes the users suck. Or at least makes them feel that it's their fault for not instantly getting it."    (Continued via Creating Passionate Users)    [Usability Resources]

Featuritis Curve - Usability, User Interface Design

Featuritis Curve


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