Adapting to User Expectations: A Cycle of Lows and Highs

Up until recently, I joked with the YourCause team about looking forward to the ‘exclusive’ problem of too many people using our application at once.  But the joke turned into all seriousness when, for the first time in April, increased site traffic began ‘stressing’ our servers, ultimately creating a slower user experience.  Literally, this issue meant YourCause reached a milestone of success by gaining substantial numbers in growth, which is a goal we set out to accomplish. Although it may seem as though the issue hindered client expectations, it’s also because we met expectations that the issue occurred.
 
We all have high technological expectations.  Therefore, there’s a ‘hype’ that comes with technology.  It must be fast, flawless, intuitive and much more to be labeled a success.  But we also know that there is a subsequent disappointment that typically happens with the introduction of new technologies.  Maybe you ‘early adopters’ remember Twitter’s ongoing and frequent outages?  It can be argued that sometimes, to achieve exponential growth and optimization, you have to take one step back to move two steps forward. 
 
My message is simple:  a cycle occurs where supplier makes product, consumer sets high expectations, product is released and consumer is not completely satisfied.  Thus, product must swiftly adapt to meet expectations.  To put it more commonly, what’s news today is history tomorrow.  We saw it most recently with the iPad, which was hyped up, released and didn’t necessarily deliver.  People were left thinking ‘how do I use this in my everyday life?’  Still, it’s predicted that as the iPad shifts applications and price, it will become a modern household platform in addition to a device, meeting expectations of all.
 
We understand we must constantly improve our technology and come up with new, creative and innovative programs that meet expectations.   However, usually these expectations are so inflated that, once the technology is adopted, it enters a ‘trough of disillusionment’ state, failing to completely keep pace with the expectations of the user.  Fortunately, we responded quickly to our problem in April and thus, resolved the issue at hand (albeit with a few hiccups).  In the end, we reached a plateau of productivity that actually increased and evolved our applications to a whole new level. 
 
We can assure we will always attempt to meet expectations, but we can also assume that the natural cycle will return, and our platform will one day prove to be dated, relying on the very same expectations that continue to challenge us.  In the end, keep the expectations and we’ll keep up with the pace, as long as all in favor overcome the hiccups together.

-Matthew Combs

Founder

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