Smart entrepreneurs will make smart product – but what is a smart product? A smart product is designed to be as user-friendly and as useful as possible. It takes the target audience’s specific needs and context into account. Simply being functional is not enough. It must fit the person using it to a tee.
Make it Reach Users at the Appropriate Time
Timing matters. A good product reaching your target audience at the wrong time may result in it looking useless and being ignored entirely. Depending on your product, how you do this will vary.
For example, your product might be an app that informs whenever a product they’re interested in has a sale. Periodic updates are one thing, and might even work. However, that can easily be construed as the lazy way to go about things. A more useful product would take into account the user’s current location and give them alerts if a product they’re interested in is on sale nearby. This makes the product useful at the right time.
Make it User Friendly
It doesn’t matter how useful your product is to the user. If the user cannot easily and meaningfully interact with the product, it’ll get ignored. That doesn’t mean that you should dumb down your product. What it means is that you have to realize that while you may have spent years thinking about and designing your product, your user is only interested in what it can do for them and how easily they can use it.
Your product should help new users make full use of it. You can do this by making an interface that is intuitive and easy-to-understand. Depending on your product, that means icons and words that mean exactly what people think they do. It sounds simple, but you have to realize that the words your engineers use are probably not the same words the average user will use.
This is all far more difficult that it sounds. Doing this requires either extensive testing or a way to determine how your users think and act. Depending on your resources and context, you may be able to get away with focusing on the new-user experience, especially for brand-new products. Further iterations of the product should take user complaints into account – and no matter how good your product is, someone is going to complain about something. Take your ego out of the equation when you hear a complaint. You might just find a suggestion worth implementing.
You Must Understand What the User Wants and Why They Want It
A great way to make your name as an entrepreneur is to create a product that recognizes and reacts to the user’s wants and motivations. At any given point, what are they trying to accomplish? By observing your users and figuring out when and maybe even where your product is used, you can adjust your product’s development to create a more user-friendly product.
There are plenty of ways to figure out how the end-user will likely behave. What is important is how you design the product around what you learn. Games with micro-transactions, for example, often monetize playtime. Maximizing the odds of selling playtime to gamers revolves around giving them enough time to get hooked on the gameplay while limiting it enough that purchasing extra playtime is appealing.
Make Your Product Able to Provide Good Options
Your product should be able to give your end-user options. Even simple products such as vacuum cleaners can give users options – the simple option to either have it suck or blow lets the user use the product as they need. It’s all a matter of understanding when and where your user will likely use the product, having your product recognize how it is used, and having it offer alternatives relevant to the context.
Naturally, the number of options the product can recommend and how it can give that recommendation will vary greatly between products. Pathfinding apps, for example, can offer alternate routes depending on traffic reports and signals. The aforementioned vacuum cleaner however, can only offer so much. Don’t go crazy trying to provide your users with good options in an effort to create smart product. It doesn’t need to solve all their problems, just the ones related to its primary function.
Making a smarter product can help you succeed as an entrepreneur. The smarter your product, the more value you’re offering to the consumers. People are, after all, generally willing to spend – as long as they see the product as worth it.
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