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The Role of Attraction in Software Adoption

October 28, 2008

So I’m writing this week about the emotions behind decisions and ultimately three emotional reaction groups that precede software adoption and buy-in. People seem to have a pattern or predisposition to be most receptive to one of the three emotional door ways (an emotional response before they make a decision), even though they may use all three in the life cycle of software adoption.

Let’s start with the easiest door to walk people through – the Door way of Positive Emotions – or more specifically Attraction. Actually as I write that I wonder if it is easiest, or just the most comfortable to navigate. Probably the latter.

As I wrote in the previous blog, this door way represents the phenomenon of paying attention, or making a choice, because you’re first attracted to something. When you’re in this space, you’re attracted to something observable in the software application, or attracted to something you believe it is going to provide, or attracted to what the people who use this application are achieving (and likely you’re not).

When I hear people walking through this door way on the way to software adoption, they’re saying things like: “That’s cool, that’s going to save me time, I like those features, just think what we could do with that, I would like to make just 1/10th of what they made using that software…”

Whether it’s the promise of saving time or money, or just an attractive, immediately useable design, people who walk through this door way, seem to be able to move from positive emotion right into software adoption.  In some ways they represent what is often described as “early adopters” through-out the literature. If they like it, they use it.

Years ago, working with a predominantly Finnish team from Nokia, I was struck by how much the emotional appeal of “clever,” when attributed to a design, pulled them into a go-forward decision. I think the power of that pull is general true across the board for people in this group. The group that responds to the Positive or Attraction door way is less tied to past conventions, and finds it relatively easy to move forward in software adoption.

When I see people walking through this process when it comes to ManagePro, it’s often either attraction to features (ex. being able to drag and drop Outlook email into work projects and convert them into progress updates and todos ) that commonly gets the eyes to light up, or it’s a time and money savings expectation (ex. “if I could have all the information I need within a couple of clicks, I could be a lot more efficient…”).

Take-aways: Here’s a couple of things I regularly see on this topic, some that you might want to be aware of – some that you will definitely want to avoid.

1. Creating an environment to facilitate decision making for people who walk through the Attraction door to reach a decision is a relatively easy, painless, even fun process (compared to escorting people through the other doors). Basically it means actively listen to what interests this group of people, and make sure you highlight that in the software you want them to adopt.

2. Remember with this group you are emphasizing appeal; and attraction, like politics is always personally defined.  You’re going for the feeling of “I like this, this intrigues me, this will make my life easier…”. So don’t expect that what appeals to you, appeals to them.

3. It’s the most frequent choice or focus that I see executives use to introduce software. Unfortunately it only resonates with a small percentage of users and is actually a poor choice as the primary driver for facilitating software adoption for the majority of would be users!

You read what I just wrote, right? It’s a really important point to not miss.

Showing people how “cool” a piece of software is – is not the primary driver for adoption for most users.  It best fits “early adopters” which are a minority of users.

So keep reading and I’ll talk about the two doorways the majority of users pass through in the next couple of blogs, especially when software adoption invokes a change to the way work or business is conducted.


The Emotions Behind Decision Making

Politics, Emotion and Software Buy-in

1 Comment. Leave new

The Role of Fear in Software Adoption
November 4, 2008 9:33 am

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