Do your users choose to use your product?

In much literature related to usability, user experience, interaction design, etc. is common to talk about users and assume they exist and feel like using your product (or not, but they are there, deciding if make your product a success or not); but if you think about it, having users is not always trivial, on the contrary, most times is something you have to earn, fight for.

How people become different kinds of users
How people become different kinds of users

How do you add a user? How do you transform a person into a user of your product? Sometimes, users will be forced to use your product (e.g. a company buys an erp software and compels its employees to use it) and, other times, users will have made the decision of using your product. In the former case, you only have to worry about providing a great user experience; but in the latter, you also have to show the person how your product can help him reach a goal (easier than they would without your product).

How do you do this?

  • Letting the word spread. If your product is desirable, useful and usable, people will tell their family and friends.
  • Advertising. If you advertise your product and make people give it a chance, they’ll become users (at least for some seconds).
  • Stating the goal, that is, make the goal visible, clear and simple. For example, if your website puts car buyers in touch with sellers, and the goal could be to buy a cheap but good car, write this, let the users know before they even load your website.
  • Investing time on the blank slate. When a user meets a product, it must attract his attention and show its usefulness.

How would you transform a person into a user?