The customer doesn’t know how to use a new product
The product intentionally has a learning curve
Misalignment with human behavior
Product fails to anticipate how the consumer will use the product.
Understand the stages of the customer’s journey to remove friction
Before first contact and a customer is unaware of the product’s existence
After getting them to sign up and complete one meaningful task
Impress them at the first moment of delight to convert them into a fanatical customer
Listen to the customer to understand human behavior
Monitor customers’ natural habitat
Many tools allow companies to monitor customers in-app, but you can also conduct field research by shadowing customers
Mentions and Reviews
Feedback can be explicit, like app reviews or social media mentions, but it can also be drawn out of data. Atypical trends in usage metrics, high frequency actions, and recurring patterns can all be useful.
Study the Industry Standard to find the expectation from existing products and example larger industry-wide trends
Eliminating friction to create the path of least resistance
Reduce customer anxiety about something new and minimize decision-making requirements
Remove avoidable steps to complete tasks – simplify or preselect when possible
Mitigate context switching (navigating away from product/service) as much as possible
If friction is unavoidable, try to mask it (e.g. hide a loading screen with a welcome message). You might also want to add friction intentionally at certain stages to produce later benefits.
Adding features to a product adds more power to the product, yet at the same time adds complexity that makes it hard for new users to even get started.
Create a product that competes because it’s taking a fundamentally different position in the market.
Know Your Market
If the market is full of complex enterprise tools, then make a simpler product aimed at individuals.
If the market is made up of fancy, high-end wines, then create one that’s cheaper, younger, and more casual.
If the market is full of long-form text blogging tools, then make one that makes it easy to communicate in 140 character bursts.
If computers are techy and cheap, then make one that’s human and more premium.
Ramifications for startups building initial versions of a product
Don’t compete on features
If your product initially doesn’t find a fit in the market (as is common), don’t react by adding additional new features to “fix” the problem.
Make sure your product reflects the market positioning