Customer Expectations Shaping the Future of Software
Note: This is the second post in a series about the role localization plays in the success of a company, especially that of a startup. The first post was about the 5 elements affecting the state of the software industry.
Advancements in software design and deployment strategy have shaped customer’s expectations about what quality software ought to be like.1 Expectations are so high, many argue that there is a whole range of software products that will not be developed because they cannot be made profitable. The less-depressing counter-point is that high customer expectations demand thoughtfulness from designers and excellence from developers — both good things.2 While we can blame these expectations on Google and Apple, they are the market reality. Ignore them at your own peril.
Software must be easy for everyone to use, not just tech-savvy power users. If a 13 year old cannot easily navigate through your software while simultaneously surfing Facebook, watching YouTube and texting, it’s too complicated. Successful software in the 2010’s is easy to use. Period.
Customers assume they already know the best apps, and if they don’t, those should be found on the front page of Google or your app store of choice. The coveted #1 pagerank is more than a vanity prize. To most customers, any software outside ranked outside of Google’s page #1 is effectively invisible. The fate of many startups today is not decided by the quality of their product, but by the wisdom of their keyword selection.
Your customers demand to hear about, try for the first time, and understand your software immediately. A “coming soon” message takes a lot of trust capital that most young software companies just do not have. As a fun test, find someone in your target market, send them to your company homepage and clock how long it takes them to try and hopefully buy your product. Faster isn’t better, it’s expected.
The cloud is here to stay. Your customers are going to be annoyed if you ask them to download/install/update. Those things should happen automatically, invisibly, and your software should jump to a new device as seamlessly as your customers can. If a customer question begins with, “can I use this on…” your answer should always be, “yes.”
In our final post, we will look at the 4 Components of a Successful Software Company.