Understanding adoption difficulty

October 15, 2010

The most difficult challenge for a consumer focused product lies in its adoption. Even on the enterprise side, the biggest challenge post purchase is adoption. But exactly how difficult is it?

An answer is available if one rephrases the question to: how long does it take for a habit to form or in other words complete adoption to happen. A team of psychologists at University College of London have answered the question for simple tasks and it stands at a staggering 66 repetitions. This is an average across several kinds of activities and thus only an indicative number when it comes to a specific activity. Furthermore, its for complete adoption – most of us would settle for partial adoption to a level that repeat usage happens.

The most interesting bit is that we now have a number to look at whenever we look at a product or service that forces a change in the user’s routine. We need to ask ourselves – what should we do that the user would use our product 66 times. Most products and service wouldn’t be able to come up to this benchmark and that explains why products requiring deep changes in habits almost always fail.

Read the paper here or a more layman description here.

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