There’s an ocean of a difference between an app and a transcendent experience. A few years ago, I won a design contest for Microsoft for some concepts around creating apps that business users would love.
I saw this piece by Stephen Anderson on O’Reilly Radar and thought it prescient. Customer and user loyalty matters more than ever, but emotional engagement and personality in the customer-product relationship is essential to delivering transcendent experiences that people continue using and actually *want* to share with friends. I believe this involves iteration, organic content creation, picking a narrow focus and conveying this focus in emotive ways.
From Stephen’s talk at Web2.0:
So that’s really where I’m keeping an eye out for web apps that engage people in an emotional way. If you look at a company like MailChimp, for example, I think they’re doing that — it’s a mail management system, a business app — but I laugh every time their mascot has a little quote or does something. They’re engaging me in an emotional way, and I think there are very few sites or businesses doing that.
I think that’s really the next thing we’re looking forward to — apps that people still use after three, four, five, or 10 years that they still love, enjoy, talk about, and share with others.
While these tenets are important in any consumer internet startup, they’re particularly vital in the area of education and learning. When there are a gazillion different options for apps, content (in its various media forms) for a learner to choose from, striking an emotional connection that persists over time is of paramount importance.
Respond to me on Twitter: @AshBhoopathy or follow the discussion on HN.