Lazy thoughts on ICT adoption

Posted on December 14, 2010

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ICT adoption is a major concern for any stakeholder involved in the ICT ecosystem. Whether you’re a developer, a provider, an integrator, or even a user, we all want to understand the factors that favor ICT adoption (understanding these factors helps us designing products that will be adopted). From an academic point of view, research on ICT adoption has been dominated by the Technology Acceptance Model; and we’ve learned two things: Perceived ease of use and Perceived usability are two determinants of acceptance. But we still need to understand more how to design ICT and how to evaluate ICT use…

My joint work with Mikael Collan, PhD, is focusing on the “Lazy User Model“. During the last couple of years, we’ve played with the idea of lazyness – to be understood as the least effort – as a way to explain how users select ICT solutions when several alternatives are available. The least effort is a trade-off of resources such as cognitive and physical efforts, (monetary) costs, and time, wrt. the user state and his current needs. Lately, we have tried to unbox the concept of least effort by introducing switching costs in ICT solution selection and their related learning aspects.

Switching costs are related to durable purchase costs, complementary purchase costs, relationship costs, learning costs, search costs, psychological costs, network costs, trust, risk of failure, switching back and information management costs. These costs are embedded in all ICT solutions, to different degrees. Our claim is that users will not select a new solution if the costs of switching to this new solution are higher than the least effort required if staying with the current solution in use.

Now, here are interesting problems to tackle for any designer: how to design new solutions that attract new users through a minor investment? or how to retain customers to stick with your solution? and (because there is not only one solution to one given problem in this world) how do we facilitate transient interactions and switching back and forth between interchangeable solutions? What is your take on these questions as a designer?

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