menu

Why Clunky Is OK: The Building Blocks of Adoption

Why Clunky Is OK: The Building Blocks of Adoption
Design
Allison Mooney
  • 11 december 2008

As most of you reading this blog know, more people in the world own mobile phones than computers, and this becomes more and more true every day. They are becoming absolutely critical for everyday life, in developing countries especially, as phones bring new found freedom and possibilities.

This is especially true with it comes to banking and finance, and we’re seeing a lot of innovation in this sector. For instance, a new pilot study in Mumbai by a start up called Eko and the Centurion Bank of Punjab offers a simple saving account that can all be managed through a cellphone. The solution enables money transfers and balance checks by dialing a string of characters e.g., *543*190123456789*100*1133740274# would send 100 rupees to someone.

Um, this sounds ridiculously complicated, right? Well, according to Jan Chipchase, people may be more up to the challenge than we’d expect (emphasis ours).

Service design is challenging but a number of factors stand in Eko’s favour – the service leverages a known behaviour (dialing a long phone number) on a ubiquitously available technology (mobile phones) and only uses the most basic features of that technology (USSD/SMS). It also leverages a neighbourhood network of service representatives to sign up and assist (new) customers, which in turn supports what we term proximate usage – where it’s not necessary to know how to do everything yourself if there’s someone nearby who can take care of it for you.

So maybe its not so complicated after all. So long as it’s accessible by everyone and it works, who cares if it’s clunky? There seem to be just three fundamentals when it comes to new technology adoption:

  1. Discovery: Is there an easy and reliable way for people to learn about it? (Does their network use it? Can their teenager explain it them?)
  2. Utility: Does it enable them to do something they need or want to do? (Is it useful in any way? Even if it’s use is pure entertainment, it needs to accomplish something.)
  3. Motivation:  How badly do they need or want to do this? (If its complicated, is it worth investing the time to learn? The more complicated it is, the more vital it needs to be….)

We’re so focused on “user experience” and design here that perhaps we get ahead of ourselves and miss these fundamentals. Just think about Twitter, which has spread like wildfire despite crashing all the time. Meanwhile, some of the slickest software won’t take off for reasons seemingly unknown. In the end, we always come back to the basics. Chipchase sums this up well by quoting Neal Stephenson:

In the beginning was the command line. When the search engine is the primary interface and you start to go beyond the basics we’ve gone full circle.

Design
Trending

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Mobile august 26, 2016

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising august 26, 2016

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising august 26, 2016

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work august 26, 2016

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings

INSIGHTS COVERAGE

Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games
READ NOW

Design august 26, 2016

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia august 26, 2016

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising august 26, 2016

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.