Are you seeking to increase the adoption rate of your product? While focusing on its user-friendliness is important, it shouldn’t be the only factor to consider when creating a new product. Imagine that you have a new product. The first thing you want to ensure is that people will actually use it, right? 

One way to increase the chances of this happening is by managing the path of use. But what is the path of use, and how do you manage it? Let’s keep reading to learn more!

The Path of Use

The “path of use”, a concept introduced by Alan Dix, a Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) expert in 2008, is an important factor to consider when designing and marketing products to increase adoption and usage. The goal of this concept is to remind designers that "state of use" isn't something that happens by itself.

Path of Use

Users do not suddenly need your product. Perhaps they are initially unaware that they require the product or that it exists. From this point, there is a process that we must be aware of and take action to shift the user's perspective so that they realize it is the best fit for their needs.

So, what can be done to achieve this?

Conducting both user and market research

User research involves determining what users need and testing products to ensure they meet those needs. Meanwhile, market research takes a broader view by identifying target customer bases and determining the best ways to reach them, as well as the existing competitors in the market. You can then conduct user research with a group of people who are part of the target market identified through market research.

By conducting both types of research, you can gain a more comprehensive understanding of your target users and the factors that will drive product adoption. 

Make it as easy as possible for users to adopt the product

Large companies may have the advantage of using their existing power to bypass the need to manage the path of use. For example, Microsoft was able to make Internet Explorer the most popular browser in the world by including it in their operating system. 

However, if you don’t have that level of power, you can still increase product adoption by making it as easy as possible for users to adopt the product. This can involve removing barriers and simplifying the adoption process for users. 

Design to provide perceived value that exceeds the cost

Remember, people  will more likely use something only if it has perceived value and exceeds cost. The value of a product can take many forms, such as entertainment, efficiency, or utility. Similarly, the cost can include not only money, but also things like time and effort required to learn how to use it. 

Take a peek of these examples: Apple, Uber, Gojek

A great example of a company that has effectively managed the path of use is Apple. When the company first introduced the iPhone, smartphones were not yet mainstream and many people were not aware that they needed one. 

Apple's marketing campaigns and user-friendly design, however, quickly changed that perception by showcasing the various ways in which the iPhone could improve the user's experience and simplify their everyday tasks. They also made the product easily accessible by opening Apple stores and making the iPhone available on multiple carrier networks.

Path of use

Another example of a company that has effectively managed the path of use is Uber. Before Uber, the process of hailing a taxi was often seen as a hassle and many people avoided it if possible. 

Uber made it as easy as possible for users to adopt their service by allowing users to hail a ride with just a few taps on their smartphone. The company also made it easy for users to pay for the service with a stored credit card, eliminating the need to carry cash or fumble with complicated payment machines.

path of use

Similarly, Gojek in Indonesia has effectively managed the path of use for ojek, a traditional motorcycle taxi service. Prior to Gojek, hailing an ojek and agreeing on a fair fare could be difficult and uncertain.

Gojek has made the process much more convenient by allowing users to hail an ojek and pay for the service through the app. They have also standardized the pricing, making it more transparent and fair for both passengers and drivers. Additionally, users can choose the payment method that works best for them.

The Takeaways

All in all, the concept of the “path of use” is a crucial consideration when developing and promoting new products. It reminds us that the process of introducing a new product to the market and convincing users to adopt it is not as simple as making it available and hoping for the best. Instead, it requires a deliberate and strategic approach. 

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