Like many, I'm a long-time reader of
Creating Passionate Users, a blog co-authored by Kathy Sierra. Last month at Euro OSCON I had the opportunity to attend a 3 hour tutorial by Kathy Sierra, and now I can't wait for the "Creating Passionate Users" book to come out.
I'm a fan.
I'm a fan because over the past year, Kathy has permanently changed my perspective on user experience (and because she managed to put in words what I've known intuitively for a long time). To give you an idea, I've included the blog posts (and graphs) that had the most impact on me.
The goal of a software application is to get users up the curve as quickly as possible. People get passionate if you help them kick ass with your product. The "time to stop sucking" and "time to first kick-ass" quotients are among the biggest advantages we have in a world where the competition is both fierce and plentiful. Get your users up there faster, and you win. More importantly, it's a way in which we can make a positive impact on the lives of users. (Taken from Attenuation and the suck threshold.)
Users will typically fall into one of the three categories: expert, amateur, or drop-out. The drop-outs decide that during that "I suck at this" phase, it isn't worth continuing. They give up. The amateur made it past the suck threshold, but now they don't want to push for new skills and capabilities. They don't want to suck again. They'll never get past the kick-ass threshold where there is a much greater chance they'll become passionate. (Taken from How to be an expert.)
The problem with disruptive upgrades. People don't upgrade because they don't want to move back into the "suck zone". You have to make it easy to upgrade because users will remember the pain of this upgrade when it comes time for the next one. An upgrade should be worth it so you need a good balance between "upgrade pain" and "added value". (Taken from Why they don't upgrade (and what to do about it)).
The more successful the product or service is, the stronger the pressure to give in to user requests. The more users you have, the more diverse the requests. The worst thing we can do is give in. We have to listen to our users but resist. The overwhelming pull of that right (hate) side slides you closer and closer to the middle. Those who hate it will hate it until you've neutered it into submission and taken away the magic some once loved. (Taken from Don't give in to feature demands.)