We live in a world of our own creation. This means we can find it inconceivable that outsiders don't know the acronyms we use daily. How can anyone possibly live without understanding what we do?
Customers don't understand your company's acronyms, processes, or business model.
It's worse than that, though - most users don't even recognise your company's name!
Here's a great example. In Zinio's world, everyone knows who Zinio are. They live in Zinio town, drink Zinio coffee from the Zinio shop. ZINIO! It's the first thing on their minds when they wake up, and what they dream of in their Zinio beds.
They are completely disconnected from the real world. They just don't understand how non-customers see them.
Which leads to this disaster.
Zinio have placed a button on the PlayBook - and, apparently, have never tested it with a non-Zinio aficionado.
The first thing to note is that no one is ever going to click on that icon. Neither the name or the graphic hold any interest to people who don't know what Zinio is.
Most normal people just don't go around clicking random buttons to see what they do. Computers are mysterious and pressing the wrong button could easily break them.
But, let us imagine that a curious user hits the button - what should they see?
A splash screen? An explanation of why Zinio is awesome? A demo? A fully working application which - later - prompts them to create an account?
In short - the elevator pitch. The trailer. The hook. Call it whatever you want - you need to make people give a damn about your product.
There's an excellent talk that Mark Curtis of Flirtomatic gives about the sign-up process. In it, he describes how sign ups to the service rocketed once they minimised the amount of information they asked if a user. Why would a user give over any information without understanding what's on offer?
In the case of Zinio on the PlayBook, there's a complete absence of understanding of a normal user.
- The icon is meaningless.
- The name is unfamiliar.
- There's no way of knowing what the app does if you open it.
- There's no incentive for the user to register.
Would anyone - who didn't already know about Zinio - ever sign up to this?
I wonder who is paying for this deal? Is it RIM paying to have a killer app on its PlayBook? Is it Zinio paying RIM to access all their customers? In either case - it looks like a wasted opportunity.