June 28, 2013
How much do users REALLY want to know about your product?
BY Shirley Robinson IN Uncategorized 0 Comment
A little learning is a dangerous thing; Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring: There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain, And drinking largely sobers us again.
-Alexander Pope, beginning of part 2 of “An Essay on Criticism”Pope’s observation about a little learning being “a dangerous thing” could be the motto of the Internet in general, what with our rapid access to mountains of tidbits on every imaginable subject. Today, though, we’re going to talk about something a bit more specific, something that’s a constant issue for software companies, among others: what’s the “right” amount of information to share with customers about product developments? In democratic cultures, people feel obligated to pass judgment–to voice their vote–even if they aren’t always sure what it all means. And that great knowledge leveler, the Internet, makes people feel empowered to make decisions they would have previously relied on experts for. And democracy and the Internet are great things! One of their greatest benefits is the level of accountability they create in companies. However, all this actionable information can cause a lot of anxiety (see Barry Schwartz on “the paradox of choice”, which could also be thought of as “the paradox of more information”). It’s also a behavioral development that, when you’re providing such information, you have to be prepared to react to and design around. Plus, different products will have different audiences, so one size is not likely to fit all. But for each situation, there is bound to be a good balance between “Why are you telling me all this?” and “Why does this look so different all of a sudden?”.