The Experience Starts in the First Minute
- February 22, 2011
- 3 Comments
I’ve worked chiefly for 3 companies in my career. In each of the first two, there was quite a focus on installation being easy. This cuts against the grain for most enterprise software companies. They mostly get used to a nice tidy sum of installation $ coming their way for each customer they sign up.
But those with a little more vision see a hard installation as a barrier to adoption of software. The product experience starts with the install (if there is one). The equivalent analogy for SaaS products is that the experience starts with registration. The harder you make the process of installing or registering, the more people you’ll lose before you even get started.
Lombardi was big on the “express install” – a single installer that would lay down everything you need to build and deploy processes. This mindset has, thankfully, been transplanted to IBM, and so far, it has stuck, even though the installer is something well north of 1GB.
Activiti is raising the bar in this arena – and one could argue that install experience is even more important for an open source project. After all, if you have to configure a build before you can even run software, how many people do you lose during this process?
But as Joram Barrez writes, you can get Activiti started in just one minute after downloading. Actually he’s a bit late with getting this news out, as it was also true of the alpha and beta builds. But they’ve made some improvements, and more importantly, they haven’t made it harder as the product has matured. Hopefully they keep a relentless focus on keeping friction costs low – it is much easier to avoid them than to get rid of the friction once it is introduced.
To me, this is just mounting evidence that the bar for Simplicity and The Experience is being raised higher. The points of differentiation will be the how not the what.