You got your product

Boy eating cake
Sugar! by Jacob Michelsen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Creating an appealing and relevant product isn’t easy. But there’s one thing that’s even harder. It’s getting unwavering customers onboard.

You have probed the ground and tested the waters. You know what people want. Maybe even before they know it themselves. You have focused and created a working process for developing a killer of a product. You are about to set sail and deliver.

And at the last second your customers go, “I’m really not ready at this point.” or “Thank you so much, I’ll get in touch!” or “Sorry, mate, not this time.” or “Let me check other options and get back to you.”

What has gone wrong?

Sometimes, customers are like children. You take your time to research and understand their lunch-related desires. You involve them every step of the way, and they help you cut the veggies. You make sure they are onboard getting the best lunch-time experience of their lives. You carefully blend the ingredients to create awesome. As you skilfully arrange the contents on their plates, they lay the table chitchatting about an elephant that went to the pool.

They are going to love it! They are going to lick their fingers and rub their bellies, and they are going to praise you for your efforts forevermore.

And they go, “Nah. I don’t want it.”

What? What has gone wrong? Has anything?

Is there something wrong with your research? No. They described their goals and limitations, and you have together come to a culinary conclusion about what would work best for them in the given situation.

Is there something wrong with your process? Not necessarily. Yes, the veggies didn’t turn out all the same shape and form. But it wasn’t what averted them from touching the food.

Is there something wrong with your presentation? Not really. The remarkable arrangement of the constituents of the meal on their plates was planned and executed with distinction.

Is there something wrong with your product? Of course not! You tasted the steaming work of genius before you took it out of the pan. And you gave them to taste the bite of heaven before it soared graciously down onto their circular dishes.

Is there something wrong with your audience? Uh, no. They don’t complain about any type of ache in their bodies, and you know they are hungry—they haven’t consumed any edible chunks of nourishing glory since morning.

So, your research works, your process works, your presentation works, and your product, too, obviously works. There is no logic in their inexplicable reaction to your time-consuming efforts.

Is there anything wrong?

Yes. And it is your reaction.

This is what happened. Your product didn’t fit this particular customer in this particular situation. End of story.

You got your product, you know it works. Offer it to those who will accept it. Stop chasing folks who don’t deem it desirable at the moment. They will tomorrow. Or maybe they won’t. It does not matter.

Dealing with humans, you have to be prepared for unpredictable and puzzling outcomes, because they are plenty. And yes, sometimes it means giving them yesterday’s dinner—or dessert—for today’s lunch.

My summary of UX open 2015

UX open logo

There are few events that ever affected me in a way that this year’s UX open 2015 did. It is an unconference for people interested in all things user experience (UX) organised by the wonderful Martin Christensen and Maryam Ammouri for the fourth year in a row. Now I think my rather emotional response to the impression UX open has left on me is justified – the energetic participation and welcoming atmosphere was something every attendant seemed to be able to testify to and appreciate.

And even more than reliving the event by watching the photos and going through the links to the lightning talk presentations, I am looking forward to reading the organisers’ evaluation of the event in more than 140 characters. Here are a newcomer’s two cents.

(For the sake of consistency and continuity of this post, I will refer to the speakers, workshop leaders and other participants of UX open, whom I had the pleasure and honour of meeting and chatting with, as “UX people”.)

Across the 16 lightning talks, uncountable discussions in open spaces, engaged fish bowl panel discussions and most pleasant conversations over coffee and lunch, I have picked up on these four common themes.

The definition of UX

UX people cannot seem to agree on what user experience is or should be. (Surprise!) The different definitions seem to correspond to people’s different perspectives depending on their professional and academic background, current assignments and nature of work. Ranging between a way of doing things to a way of thinking things to not a “way” at all, the definition of user experience is rather far from being widespread, common and agreed upon.

As a result of this disagreement, however reluctant it may be, UX people can neither seem to agree on how to call themselves. The variations of titles represented at UX open are if not scary, then unsettling at least. One of the fish bowl panel discussion participants expressed it in the style of, “it’s funny how we work on making things easier for people to understand, though we can’t make what we work on easier to understand”. What I noticed they do agree on, however, is that it is okay to disagree on the titles.

UX is about people
UX is about improving and creating a better world, solving problems and satisfying needs.

UX people seem to also agree on why user experience is important, or at least that it is important. The first lightning talk presentation by Jens Wedin accounts for “the state of UX” in Sweden. The results of Jens research on the landscape of user experience from the perspective of UX people themselves show clearly that they are on a mission to improve and create a better world, solve problems and satisfy needs.

UX people are encouraged not to build for users, but rather with them, listening and learning. Whatever the definition, one thing seems to be certain. User experience is more about people than it is about programs, more about principles than it is about procedures, more about practices than it is about processes.

The scope of UX

UX people are keen on sharing methods and tools that help them do their work well. Whether it is finding ways of engaging users or working on analysing the gained insights, they are mindful of the differences in approaches and eager to learn from one another.

Gripen cockpit
The principles of UX are now being adopted in and by other domains and in the non-digital realm.

One aspect of user experience touched upon in some lightning talks and open spaces was what user experience encompassed. During recent years it has become referred to as a discipline within the web and the digital realm. Its principles are now being adopted in and by other domains, be it for the design and development of warplane cockpits or non-digital artefacts like services, meetings, environments and processes.

The necessity of UX

One of the biggest challenges that many UX people seem to share is the executive and other stakeholder buy-in. While they expressed frustration with some organisations’ inability and sometimes unwillingness to see the value of user experience, many showed understanding and patience with stakeholders’ having to learn and develop at their own pace. Still, acceptance of user experience as a factor of bringing value to users and customers is on the rise in many organisations. However, it is also often seen exclusively as a facilitator of rising sales figures.

The acceptance level of the value that the focus on user experience can bring into the organisation seems to be different depending on whether UX people are hired as consultants or employed in-house. Both groups point out, however, that user experience is often but a fragment of business and operations development that a company is in real need of. Oftentimes, UX people’s skills are about empowering teams within organisations to work efficiently, to communicate clearly and to deliver an effective product or service based on user- and customer-centric approaches. If the purpose of a project is to build a wall, user experience is the mortar rather than bricks.

Fish bowl
Will tech exist in the future? Yes. Will users exist in the future? Yes. Then yes, UX designers will also be needed. – Unn Swanström, @unnderbar, Netlight Consulting AB.

One of the most remarkable discussions during the fish bowl panel was that on whether user experience will exist and be needed in the future. Many agree that even though it is an expertise of few and a necessity today, user experience is on its way to shift focus and be the responsibility of many tomorrow. Nevertheless, it is safe to assume that the need of facilitating the focus on users’ needs within organisations, advocating for their participation in the end-result of an undertaking, as well as enabling teams to create useful and usable products and services isn’t going to run dry any time soon.

The ethics of UX

UX people are also heedful of differentiating right from wrong. They admit to often treading the fine line between what is best for business and what is best for users. The balance that is hard to achieve, and whose absence is also hard to notice.

Friction in UX
Deliberate friction is a means to encourage users to make conscious decisions on their way to achieving the goal. – Per Axbom, @axbom, Axbom Innovation AB.

Per Axbom’s fantastic lightning talk on the dangers of what he calls “fairy tale-like user experiences” justly received the longest round of applause than any other talk of UX open. Brilliantly blending humour with serious business, Per questions the importance of building an easy-to-use website for a knife-through-butter frictionless user experience and at the end of the day manipulating users’ cognitive ability. Instead, he challenges UX people not to become obsessed with conversion rate optimisation as he argues for and urges the need of deliberately creating obstacles on users’ paths. This way we can encourage users to make conscious decisions and satisfy them in their experience stretching beyond the screen interaction and make sure we strike the balance between business goals and users’ needs.

Design for extremities
By designing for extremities, we contribute to more sustainable products that include more people. – Sara Lerén, @HeedTheNeed, inUse AB.

The notion of accessibility and inclusive design picks also on the ethics of user experience. Sara Lerén’s iconic lightning talk touches on the subject of designing for extremities as a means to create benefit for everyone. She argues user experience is about paying attention to marginalised minorities, instead of generic masses, in order to deliver the benefit of what UX people’s work contributes to creating. The benefit that can be enjoyed by all. Having a clear purpose upfront and targeting depreciated groups is a strong example of making sure a product or service is usable and used by many, standing the test of time.

Sara makes a case for inclusive design as opposed to mainstream and exclusive design. As an example, she questions traditional norms of asking for one’s gender in an online form and only providing two options – male and female. She argues that if there is a well-grounded reason for you to know the gender of your users, you must not make an assumption of everyone fitting in one or the other category.

Conclusion

My expectations coming to UX open 2015 were skyscraper-high. What I saw, learned and experienced made me soar above the highest building in the capital city. I am glad I could be part of an event made possible by the participants themselves. This conference format has proven to me to be most effective. Now, this is my picture of UX open. I am eager to see you paint and share yours.

Seeing events, observing intentions

Pomegranates
Pomegranate 6 by Kim McKelvey (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

On the window sill in our kitchen, there sat a bowl of pomegranates. I had carefully plucked each seed out of the fruit’s mushy pulp. (Now, I know there are other ways getting the desired part out that are less time-consuming, but I have my way and it works well.)

My four-and-a-half-year-old daughter saw the lid-covered bowl of pomegranate seeds and asked me if she could open it. “Go for it!” I said without a second thought as to her intention. She started to open the lid, and I watched her, as her delicate little fingers ran around the edges of the bowl. When she was done with the enterprise, I told her, “Good, now you can eat them, one by one!” To which she simply and quietly answered, “No.”

She started backing, clearly willing to leave for the living room, as if her mission were accomplished and she had a new endeavour awaiting. Startled, I asked her why she wouldn’t eat the pomegranate. “Daddy,” she answered unapologetically, “I never wanted to eat the seeds. I just wanted to open the bowl, so you could eat them.”


We often think we know what our customers want from us in form of products or services. Just as often, however, we fail to realise that what we think we heard them say is the necessary analysis of their needs on our part. We might have come a long way recognising the importance of basing our supply on the demand rooted in needs and not in desires. But is that enough?

During your user research (or rather user recognition, for lack of a better word), do you simply see them touching your product or do you wilfully look at them interacting with it? Do you deliberately yet passively watch your audience from afar or do you heedfully observe them?

When my daughter asked me if she could open the bowl of pomegranate seeds, I assumed her reason for doing it was to eat them. If only for a moment, my misconception about her intention left me startled.

How often do we assume our customers’ intent is A, just because they exhibit behaviour B? What we think we see our customers do, or sense them express, is an idea that, if grounded in inaccurate speculations and defective conclusions, can yield devastating results to our business.

The valuable, and sometimes vital, discipline of user research is best left to be served by a professional who consigns your audience to scrupulous analysis and not superficial description.

Adaptive apps – are they here to stay?

The overflow of information I face daily through the abundance of channels is striking. Personalised search results, breaking news in my area, film suggestions based on my ratings – the apps are getting smarter as the algorithms get more complex with the purpose of bringing me the right information at the right time and place.

When I’m at work, I don’t require navigation at my fingertips. When I’m in a car, I don’t watch films. When I’m on vacation, I don’t (usually) read e-mail. Apps that learn from users’ habits of using a device and adapt to users’ behaviour are therefore smart, really smart. Moves is an example of an app with minimal setup requirements or settings alternatives. It just “knows” whether you walk or run or cycle and “remembers” the places you’ve been at, learning your moves in the everyday.

Adaptive apps are built with the user’s needs and goals in mind. They empower users to focus on the current situation they are in without being disturbed. Ultimately, they make it fun using technology without jeopardising efficiency. (Haven’t all technological innovations been about just that – smarter solutions to achieve efficiency, thus adding new value?)

Necessary apps at the right place and time

Cover is an app that learns “when and where you use different apps and puts them on your lockscreen for easy access.” It is a very interesting idea that I think is on the verge of breaking new ground of interaction with a mobile device.

Cover – The right apps at the right time is a video by Cover for Android on YouTube

Homescreen adapting to user’s context

There’s also Aviate. Reminding of Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook Home, it is an “intelligent homescreen that organizes the information in your phone and surfaces it at the perfect moment”.

AVIATE is a video by Aviate on YouTube

Here to stay?

I doubt that the apps themselves are going to be dominant as the ones staying. The mindset behind them though is bound to be incorporated across the mobile operating systems at some point. Furthermore, I’d be curious to see a similar solution for desktop, even if, at first, it might be about my behaviour and habit based coupled with time (and timezone?) regulated applications.

Applications that enhance my efficiency and empower me to focus on the essential for the moment are fundamentally the ones that I think well can stand the test of time.

The dirty work of laying foundation

Foundation

Building a pretty website or developing an app quickly may seem attractive at first. It is not, however, durable in the long run. The value of a digital product lies in its usability, which is attained by focusing on the users’ interests. They are all too often considered all too late, usually as a user testing activity. Neither is engaging your users early in the design process enough—starting with them is a necessity, if you want to ensure your website is a worthy result of your work.

Your users do not usually know where the navigation bar should sit, what the breakpoints or font size should be, or which jQuery plugin should be called upon, if any. While they can tell you what makes them happy when they are browsing the Internet, they are more prone to explain what makes them mad when something is not working the way they expect. These are the insights you must gather in order to build on them. The insights you collect about user behaviour are the foundation of your building, not the wallpapers you choose when the walls are already there.

This is neither to undermine a designer’s creative eye or developer’s skillful hands. Both are capable of producing a work of genius. Very often, however, the best ideas for worst inventions are grounded in fantasy, not reality and its implications.

Before creating your next interface, application or QR code, do the dirty work first. It will pay off in the long run. Do you have an idea in your mind? Great, now think about use cases. Who do you want to use your product? In which situations? With whom? Do they have a need to use your creation, otherwise why would they want to do it?

Describe the idea thoroughly, jotting down answers to this kind of questions. Now, make a presentation. You are going to be selling your idea to potential customers. Gather people around and explain what you want to do. Draw stick figures, paint cardboards, wave flags. Let them judge your idea. Let the discussion spin off into their experiences—because that is exactly what you are after: the insights into the everyday of your users. You can then lay them as cornerstones, guiding your construction.

What kind of foundation you build your structure upon will determine whether the formation will be a success, whether the work will not have been futile, and whether your creation will stand the test of time. Crucial dirty work.

Photo Credit: mac_ivan via Compfight (cc)

 

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Opera

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Opera logo
Opera logo

Web browser: Opera

Opera is the fifth and last web browser in my thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] page test. Opera’s thank-you page is clean and simple, with a clear headline, “Thank you for choosing Opera Browser, we hope you enjoy it.”

1. What is about to happen

By removing most of marketing-type of content and only having two sentences taking up the whole page, Opera are sending an unwritten message to the user. “If your download does not start automatically, please click here.” What’s about to happen? The download will start automatically! What’s the unwritten message? Downloading Opera Browser is easy.

Opera’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X
Opera’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X

2. What is required of user

Opera are making a point of ease of installing their browser, too—not just downloading it. The “please click here” bit does it graciously. True, both Chrome and Firefox included a link to force start a download on their thank-you pages. The big difference is though that Opera rely solely on that, without making any assumptions as to what operating system or browser you are using to download their product. The text is the same on both Windows and OS X.

Opera’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7
Opera’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7

3. How to get started

The only way for users to get a hint of how to get started with their new browser is a link Help in their secondary navigation. The link leads users to Opera’s forums, where they are encouraged to search, to see if their question has been posted before.

4. Spreading the love

Opera provide do not let users who chose to give their browser a try to share their choice (just like Firefox).

Other observations

Opera is the only company assuming publicly that users choose to give their browser a try.

Conclusion

My suggestion to Opera is to continue keeping things simple and considering how adding a way for people to share their browser with others might be of use.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Safari

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Safari logo
Safari logo

Web browser: Safari

Safari is the fourth web browser whose thank-you page I am testing. Both Internet Explorer and Safari are hard to find a download page for, since there are many ways to download these two browsers. Just likw with Internet Explorer, there is no Safari thank-you page to analyse. A single get-our-latest-web-browser page from Apple is also as hard to find—there are several. Let’s look at this support page instead of this one, for example.

1. What is about to happen

Just like Microsoft, Apple do not offer any overview of what is about to happen when you click, or have clicked, on their Download button. The only thing that suggests the coming action is the text on the button saying just that, “Download”.

2. What is required of user

Neither do Apple include anything that users are required to do during the download/installation. Very loose system requirements are present though: “Any PC running Windows XP SP2 or Windows Vista or Windows 7”. Both Apple and Microsoft seem to rely strongly on the ease of installation of their product.

Safari’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7
Safari’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7

3. How to get started

Apple do not provide any introduction to Safari for users who decide to download their product. They seem to expect users to know how to operate their newly downloaded addition to the family of programs on their PC.

There only link that vaguely resembles some kind of support with Safari (the link to “detailed information on the security content of this update”, is broken.

4. Spreading the love

There is a way for users to share the download page with their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. But users are expected to know where to click, in order to do it. (Hint: the icon with a title/tooltip “Share”, good luck!)

Other observations

The download page is part of apple.com, which makes it seem to be consistent with everything Apple. There are ambiguous to a common user codes and ID’s on the download page, like download ID (DL1531) and SHA1 (Windows)= f601df0106987bfffc3f22b046ba835e4f8d29c6, whatever that means.

Conclusion

My suggestion to Apple is to think twice how they want to promote downloading their product on apple.com. The best way would be including a link to a download page on the presentation page of Safari. But that would be too obvious a choice, wouldn’t it?

Last up: Opera. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Internet Explorer

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Internet Explorer logo
Internet Explorer logo

Web browser: Internet Explorer

Version: 10

Internet Explorer is the third web browser in my thank-you-page test. The thing about Internet Explorer is that there is no thank-you page to analyse. There is, however, a get-our-latest-web-browser page from Microsoft. Let’s look at it instead.

1. What is about to happen

Microsoft do not offer any kind of an overview of what is about to happen when you click, or have clicked, on their signature flat-designed button “Get Internet Explorer 10”. The largest font-size on the page belongs to the heading “Fast and fluid for Windows 7”, which makes a point and destroys it. The word “fluid” does not necessarily have a good connotation, to my mind. In combination with “fast”, it has the “unpredictable” and “confused” ring to it.

2. What is required of user

One thing Microsoft do include, nevertheless. The users are informed that by clicking “Download now” (let me tell you, I’ve searched the page to and fro for another instance of the phrase or a thing to click, without any success), they agree to “the Internet Explorer Software license terms | Privacy statement | System requirements”. The three documents are interesting and if you haven’t read them, I encourage you to do so, if only to get acquainted with what you are getting yourself into, when you decide to get Internet Explorer 10 on your machine.

Except for a computer meeting system requirements, the users are not required to do anything. Microsoft must rely wholeheartedly on the ease of installation of their product.

Internet Explorer’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7
Internet Explorer’s download page in Internet Explorer 9 on Windows 7

3. How to get started

Microsoft has a page-wide introduction to Internet Explorer 10 with a hard-to-interpret heading “See what’s next for Internet Explorer”. The link “See it now” leads to Internet Explorer 10 presentation page, where you are led to understand that Microsoft’s browser and latest operating system are forever interwoven.

Back to the download page. Microsoft provide users with superb marketing shmoodle and shambalamba. The new Internet Explorer is “Fast”, “Easy”, and “Safer”. There are links to a page where you can download a different language or version of Internet Explorer 9, to a page where you can explore what’s new and exciting about Internet Explorer 9 and to a page where you can get support for… you guessed it, Internet Explorer 9.

4. Spreading the love

Microsoft provide a way for users to share the download page with their friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter. Moreover, they include the Facebook Like button for page visitors to click on, thus joining the rest of 2.5 million of planet’s inhabitants showing appreciation of the company.

Other observations

There is an option for users to choose to set Bing as a default search engine before they download the browser. This is how I interpret “I would also like Bing and MSN defaults” anyway. What an MSN default is, I have no clue.

Conclusion

My suggestion to Microsoft is to get the purpose of the page straight and get rid of all the noise and bloat. I am left confused, when I think about who the target audience is. I would be surprised if Microsoft knew the answer themselves.

Next up: Safari. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Mozilla Firefox

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Mozilla Firefox logo
Mozilla Firefox logo

Web browser: Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is the second web browser whose thank-you page I tested. It is simple and reminds of Google Chrome’s thank-you page with a big headline and three images. The gratitude is expressed by “Thank you for downloading Firefox!”, which is part of a line of text just below the headline that says, “Different by design” attracting more attention than the thank-you phrase itself.

1. What is about to happen

Just as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox utilises visual means to simplify the description of the process of downloading and installing their product. The three steps are not labelled, but rather there are several-line-long descriptions under the images of what happens when a user has clicked the download button.

Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X
Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X

In the case of Firefox, just like with Chrome, the three images illustrating the three steps match the operating system that you use at the moment. However, the first image sports a downloads window… of Mozilla Firefox. I do not know how often you browse your way to Firefox’s thank-you page using Firefox. The browser version that is being downloaded in the illustration is 12 versions older than the present one. Which shows when the thank-you page was updated last.

2. What is required of user

Mozilla Firefox recognise that the process of installing a program on Windows is more complicated than that on OS X, for example. They ask the user to clicking Run in the Internet Explorer dialog bar. In the next step, they ask you to launch the Mozilla Firefox setup wizard and follow the instructions (with a disclaimer that the process is made as painless as possible).

Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7
Mozilla Firefox’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7

On OS X, Mozilla do not just encourage users to drag the icon of the newly installed web browser into Dock or, like Chrome, right-click it and select ‘Keep in Dock’. They make it part of installation procedure instead.

Firefox make it easy for the user to force download, should it not begin automatically. However, the link is less prominent than on Chrome’s thank-you page (the link text is “click here”) and is a constituent of the first step.

3. How to get started

Firefox do not provide a loud reference to a tutorial on how users are to get started with the new browser. There is, nevertheless, a helpful list of links (Tour among them) which lead users to resources that are meant to enhance their browsing experience with Firefox. The list includes links to Support pages as well as Mozilla’s rather new mobile browser.

4. Spreading the love

On their thank-you page, Mozilla Firefox do not in any way let their new users share what they’ve just accomplished.

Other observations

Mozilla appear to focus on the interaction between the browser and the user on a much deeper level than Chrome, at least according to their thank-you page. By careful choice of words and images, they show that users’ experience with their browser starts of by comparison. It is one of several browsers on their machine, and if they give it a try, they will find it superior to the others. Far-fetched as this interpretation might be, here’s what I find supporting this idea: the Dock in OS X sporting shiny new Firefox icon has also Safari on it.

Mozilla come across as more agressive concerning competition on the browser battlefield than Chrome. They focus on contrast: “Different by design”, “You’re going to love the difference”, “[Download] could take a few minutes, but it’s worth the wait”, “[C]lick on Firefox whenever you want to use the web!”

The differences between how Firefox’s thank-you page is shown on different operating systems are only slight. Besides, they do not interfere with Mozilla’s goal of appearing as “different” (read “superior”).

Conclusion

My suggestion to Mozilla is to continue making a stand for the browser superiority and adding a way to share users’ download activity with their friends.

Next up: Internet Explorer. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.

Analysing thank-you-for-downloading-[browser] pages: Google Chrome

This post is a part of the enterprise I have set out on—an analysis of how different web browser developers use words and images after you have decided to give their product a try by downloading it.

Google Chrome logo
Google Chrome logo

Web browser: Google Chrome

Google Chrome is the first browser I downloaded for the test. Its thank-you page is clean and simple, echoing the overall feel of the website. The gratitude is expressed by “Thank you for installing Chrome”, which is the line of text set in largest font size, bound to attract attention.

1. What is about to happen

Google Chrome’s thank-you page shows three steps of how the process of getting the new web browser on your machine goes down. Quite as expected, the first step is “Download”. The second step is “Install”, and the last one is “Run”. The three steps are illustrated by relevant images of how an operating system handles the download and installation.

Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X
Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Safari on OS X

The screencapture images illustrating the three steps match the operating system that you use at the moment. For example, if you download Google Chrome on Windows (regardless of which browser you use to gain access to the download page), the images show Internet Explorer’s installation dialog window.

2. What is required of user

On Windows 7, the user is not required to do anything beyond what Chrome installer cannot do by itself. The text says, “Once installed, Chrome should start automatically.”

Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7
Google Chrome’s thank-you page in Internet Explorer on Windows 7

On OS X, however, there is instead a line of text that says, “After installing, you can right-click the Chrome icon and select ‘Keep in Dock’ to access Chrome easily.” Though not a requirement, this encouragement is also shown visually in the last image, where Google Chrome icon already sits in Dock between System Preferences icon and Contacts icon.

Chrome make it easy for the user to force download, should it not begin automatically, by including a link to the file just above the three workflow images: “click here to retry”.

3. How to get started

Users seem to be expected to know how to operate a web browser. There are not many clues as to what a browser is and what one should do to get started browsing the web. However, there is a link to Google Chrome’s Help centre: “Have questions? You can find more information in the Chrome Help center.”

4. Spreading the love

On their thank-you page, Google Chrome do not show that they rely on the word of mouth markteing of their product. The only way for you to share the just-downloaded browser is a small +1 button just below what may be considered as a mega footer. That is the button and a humble number of 2.2 million users who already showed their appreciation for the browser.

Other observations

Google Chrome make their mobile browser and integral part of the thank-you page. The section of the page where there are links to Google Chrome for Android devices and iOS devices is just as noticeable as the three step illustrations, though it is located below them. They prompt users to “bring [their] Chrome experience to [their] phone or tablet”.

The differences between how Chrome’s thank-you page is shown on different operating systems are only slight and well-grounded.

Conclusion

My suggestion is to not take users’s web browser experience for granted and provide a better way of showing how to get started with Chrome, in order to get the most of it.

Next up: Mozilla Firefox. Don’t miss it, follow me on Twitter for updates.