Each layer of knowledge may be a business opportunity, but that isn’t the only layer to consider.

When an idea lacks connectivity to its ideal context, the decision to trade money for time (or vice-versa) is null. You not only lack discoverability, but you’ve made it difficult to use the idea when it can show its true value.

Instead, by understanding the experience from initial pain point to pleasure, ideas can plug the unsightly gaps in-between.

Two startup examples can help us understand what this looks like.

Uber

barcelona-traffic Yes, Uber is a middleman, operating between customer and driver—but that’s missing the why in its success. They aren’t “disrupting” the connection to individual, professional drivers. Instead, they’re changing the way people hail cabs—not by being a better taxi service, but by designing the experience from need to happiness.

The issue with cabs is exacerbated in Atlanta, where I live, because there are less of them and the city is interesting to navigate. So, some common issues are:

“Which cab company do I call?”
“How long will it actually take for them to get here?”
“Will the language barrier be manageable enough to even explain where to pick me up?”
“Will they take my card?”

Uber answers these questions for people, and immediately becomes a more desirable solution. I don’t need to pick a cab company, find their number, or try to download their joke-of-an-app. I open Uber, select my pickup point, see how long it’ll take for the driver to arrive, see driver reviews (which speaks to issues like a language barrier), and wait. I know that they’ll “take my card”, because my card is already in the app and charges automatically after arrival. Seamless.

And you’d better believe they’re upsetting the status quo with this: my state (along with others) is scrambling to regulate them at the—ahem—suggestion of taxi and limo lobbyists.

Spritz

alejandroescamilla-bookAnother way to design the experience and encourage adoption of an idea is to patch the integration holes. Spritz is doing this well.

They, essentially, take what is already freely available with Spreeder, and add some minor interface improvements to make speed reading a reality for more people. Spreeder already allows me to paste text in a box online, or use a bookmarklet after I select some text on a page. That’s really useful, but it requires effort to remember to use it at all. It’s not integrated into what I’m already doing: reading.

Instead, Spritz has created toolkits for integration into existing products and services.

With these tools in hand, developers can implement their own powerful Spritz interfaces for their software and track user interaction with their content.

As a user, I don’t really care who came up with the technology, but I would be very interested in a setting in iBooks, for instance, that would let me switch to “Speed Reading Mode”. I might even be willing to use a third-party app that offers this attractively, instead.

Yes, Spreeder offers a desktop app that has about 600 eBooks and some other neat features, but nothing in the form of integration into the way I’m already reading. I’m much more likely to pay for an in-app upgrade or a new app entirely that offers Spritz integration, instead of limiting my reading options (device, selection, etc.) just to adopt the Spreeder interface.

A designed experience that connects people to their goals seamlessly is impactful.

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March 28, 2014 — 1 Comment — In Blog, Business, Opinion, UX