Thursday, May 15, 2008

Designing for the Social Web: The Usage Lifecycle

Creating passionate users ...

"The Usage Lifecycle describes how far a person has progressed in using your web application, helping to identify the hurdles someone needs to overcome to become regular, passionate users.

Babycenter.com has a really great newsletter. Once you tell the site when you’re expecting, it sends you a weekly newsletter targeted at the specific stage of pregnancy you’re in. At 4.5 months, for example, it tells you that your baby weighs about 10.5 ounces and is 10 inches long. This information is timely and relevant…it knows exactly what stage you’re in and helps you deal with the stresses and questions at that point.

The key to babycenter’s ability to deliver a relevant newsletter is that they know your delivery date. Once they know that, they know *a lot* about what you’re going through, as pregnancy is a well-defined process that is mostly the same for everyone. Nine month cycle. Kid. Simple.

Can people designing products of all sorts take advantage of this lifecycle process? Yes, I think they can. One of the primary ideas in my new book, Designing for the Social Web is a similar kind of lifecycle, what I call the “Usage Lifecycle”. The usage lifecycle isn’t as clear cut as pregnancy is, but it recognizes that people go through a progression as they use software. They go from not knowing much at all (like parents early on in pregnancy) to feeling comfortable with the product (like, say, when parents become grandparents :D ) to finally being passionate users.

The Stages of the Usage Lifecycle

The stages of the lifecycle are straightforward and simple. You can dive into lots more depth as your application warrants, and you can add stages, but for the most part these five stages apply to almost all software.

* Unaware This isn’t so much a stage as it is a starting point. Most people are in this stage: completely unaware of your product.
* Interested These people are interested in your product, but are not yet users. They have lots of questions about how it works and what value it provides.
* First-time Use These people are using your software for the first time, a crucial moment in their progression.
* Regular Use These people are those who use your software regularly and perhaps pay for the privilege.
* Passionate Use These people are the ultimate goal: passionate users who spread their passion and build a community around your software

Note that each of these stages describes people, as opposed to a product or a market. It describes the different types of relationships people have with your software product. Have they used it yet? Have they even heard about it? What questions do they have?"    (Continued via Bokardo)    [Usability Resources]

Stages of User Lifecycle - Usability, User Interface Design

Stages of User Lifecycle

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