What advanced users really want

Many decision makers in design and business still believe that advanced users want to be surrounded by advanced tools in every aspect of their lives and appreciate another feature-packed website or app. ‘Advanced’ in the context of software usually means complex and having a steep learning curve.

It all depends on the particular product, but in most cases I would disagree.
Advanced users want easier things just like anybody else. In fact their expectations for easier things might be higher that that of a regular user.

Imagine a developer sitting at his desk coding another complex financial system. Although he’s running late with delivery, the guy decides to take a break and get a coffee. He suddenly discovers a new coffee machine in the kitchen area. Will he appreciate the new interface of installed feature-packed coffee machine? Unlikely. Advanced user now has to waste precious time to learn how to operate the machine instead of going back to work and delivering that code on time. Chances are he won’t get the coffee the way he loves too at first attempt.

If you believe people would appreciate exploring your product on their free time, consider one more example.

The same guy goes on a vacation with his wide and kids. After spending a few days at the beach he decides to go on a guided tour to the places of interest in the area. He grabs a brochure at the reception and ends up spending half an hour trying to figure out and navigate a complex timetable/destinations/price matrix of guided tours. This probably makes him remember the frustrating experience of struggling with the travel agency website he booked his vacation with.

In this rushed world people just don’t have the time or interest to learn’ the new thing’, especially if it doesn’t bring the unique value.

People appreciate feature-loaded software when it helps them perform complex tasks more efficiently. They only invest their time if high ROI is plain to see. Or if cornered (monopolies case).

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