15 June 2007

Niklas Zennstroem on the importance of user experience

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Niklas Zennstroem
Niklas Zennstroem, co-founder of net telephony service Skype and of on-demand video service Joost, has written a long BBC article that can be summarised with this quote: “If I was to single out where the next big idea is going to come from, from what I’ve seen so far, it will be driven by what consumers want.”

“[The] growth [of the internet communications industry] is driven by a combination of innovation from the companies that are creating the software, and from user experience.

Innovation tends to be the catalyst. However, what people like doing online tells us a lot about how they like communicating and accessing and sharing information with one another.

One of the common denominating factors behind usage is what the technology gives the individual in return for their endeavours.

A technology platform that is based on a solid, intellectual, R&D driven culture has the opportunity to thrive among a hungry community that wants life made easier.

I’ve spent most of my professional life working in the communications industry. I’ve seen many technologies come and go.

The ones that fail tend to be too hard to use and impenetrable to the average consumer.

And they fail because the benefit is often overshadowed by the hype. Many potentially great technologies disappear because, quite simply, they do not give people what they want.”

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