Thursday, June 14, 2007

"The Interface is the Product"

As some of you might know by now, I have been dabbling in marketing consulting over the past year. And I must admit that I feel very at home in the marketing space and I think I know why. It has been funny to be introduced as being "in charge of Software Development and Marketing" and seeing the looks on people's faces and they wrestle with the apparent incongruity if what they just heard.

You see, it's the quality of the human experience that defines success or failure, or the value of a product, or the quality of service. The folks at Basecamp say "the interface is the product" and the marketplace is proving them very right on this. In my younger days I had a poster in my work space that said "It's the experience, stupid." reminding all of the engineers, coders, and business modelers that it was the customer experience that would make or break us.

Over the past 10 years or so I have found my passion as a "software engineer" in building software. More specifically in creating interfaces that help people be more effective in their work or express themselves creatively. As a marketer, I have been creating "interfaces" for products and companies for their target customers. I have found several parallel "truths" in marketing interfaces that also hold true for software interfaces:

  • People prefer simple interfaces over complex ones.
  • People want it to be about them.
  • People are attracted to things that help them express their own identity.
  • People would rather help you put the finishing touches on a solution rather than take it just as you offer it.
  • Customization of an interface creates intimacy with it.
  • Solid design and fidelity of presentation are important.
  • How people feel about something is more important than "the facts" behind it.

I know the above sounds very simple and obvious. But it's amazing how easy they are to forget.

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