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Why some web apps are successful and others aren't

Useful (not for technology sake)

Good: "OMG this will help so much"

If you hear this from an actual user (as opposed to a salesman), you're on your way to a marketable product.

Bad: "That's cool!"

If your users recognize the glitter first, you're either creating an unsustainable product or positioning your product incorrectly. Glitter is something nice to look at, but glitter collects dust in an art gallery if it isn't also useful.


Good: "You should try _____ (your product), it does ______ (task you help solve)"

A specific unique selling proposition makes your product easier to sell by the only people users are listening to—each other.

Bad: "_____ (your product) does a ton of stuff!"

When people share your product with others, you want them to plant your product in others' minds in the context of a specific reason to use your product and not in the "does a ton of stuff" junk pile in our brains.

Helps user accomplish something

Good: "I wish it was easier for me to do ________ (task you help solve)"

Necessity is the mother of invention, and we need tools to help us accomplish tasks. What task do you help solve?

Bad: "It's already easy for me to do _______ (task you help solve)"

It's a saturated market, find another problem to solve.


Good: "It didn't take any time for me to learn _______ (your product)"

You can't make a complex task any easier with a complex product. If a = completing the task, b = using your website, and c = stress to complete the task with your website, it should work out that a + b < c.

Bad: "How do you use ________ (your product)?" + deer in the headlights look

= Time for usability testing

Easy to prove it improves something (measureable)

Good: "Wow, look at how much it improves ________ (task you help solve)"

The benefit should be obvious and easy to communicate, such as "You'll save $x, this saves x amount of time, or you'll gain x opportunity (which has obvious benefits unto itself)" Evaluation time is super short on the web.

Bad: "People will see the value when they use it"

You're putting the carriage before the horse. People will use your product only after they see the value in using it. Thus, the value should be obvious.