The Base Expectation

Nov 11, 2010 | No Comments

Last night my daughter, who’s currently battling a tough chest cold, tried to squeeze her new Wonder Pets doll.

And nothing happened.

Confused, she gave both of us a pleading look, and said,

“Push? Push?”

In kiddo-speak that means “doesn’t this toy make some sort of surprising noise when I squeeze it, like every other toy I have?” She just has a way of making complex thoughts into simple verbalizations, but only ones we know.

Figured a lesson lies here – in this unmet expectation my daughter had of the Wonder Pets doll. Her previous experiences with similar toys always delighted her, especially the various Elmos that do all kinds of things when you squeeze them. This simple toy, lacking some functionality, caused her thought process to break.

This felt like a great way to explain meeting (or not) the base expectation people have in the digital and mobile space. People expect to be able to check their balances on a banking site, order books on Amazon, find the closest store on Whole Foods’ site and get the latest news quickly on CNN.

Easy yes? Seems like it, but in this you only should know is, never seems. Because once you start shoveling on the features, the content, the flash, and everything else intended to create stickiness, it can fully distract from the base feature (singular) and information people expect from your site. That’s when they bounce because they simply couldn’t get the site to squeak like they thought it would.

What’s the solve here? Simple – do the legwork and know what that base expectation is from people visiting and feature it, prominently. I’m not saying give up all that is sticky, but put it behind layers to create areas of deeper experience.

Just don’t forget that simple feature, because meeting base expectation is really the least we should do

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