One hand washes the other (or should)

Co-creation as third pillar of product personalization.

The research made by the 1,000 Genomes Project found in 2010, 88 Millions variations in human DNA from sequences that include 2,504 people from different regions. So are our brains and the way we all perceive the world. And products. We all have our own background experience which helps to understand and develop the world.

As defined by ISO 9241–210, UX is “a person’s perceptions and responses resulting from the use and/or anticipated use of a product, system or service.” All this has its basements on the cognitive relation events-affective states: once we receive an event, we react voluntary or involuntary. That is one of the principles of mass personalization.

For a long time we were living on an era of rigid products until we realized that providing personalization to products will increase the users’ engagement, will bring more loyal clients and therefore more revenue to the companies.

As we are living on big data times, it is possible to fetch more and more data about users, and so, it is possible to develop individualized scenarios in order to have a highly dedicated experience for each user. But it is enough?
Of course not, haters will always hate.

“The existence of a majority logically implies a corresponding minority.”

A product’s development from its very beginning was taken as a linear process, which can turn into many variants, but at the end, it will remain linear. Even while conducting A/B tests, (even A/B/C, A/B/A…) one of those will be picked as winner and generalized to all users. And that, somehow is also wrong if we are aiming to reach the level of mass personalization.

Picking a winner will apply rules from the majority to be used by the minority. But what if it is possible to engage also the minority? Now you could think “For your own sake dude, think big!!!”. Actually I’m. Engaging the majority is not engaging /all/ your users.

Maybe it sounds a little absolutist. But so, you can increase the “majority” defined by a one-out-of-three winner test with more users. Recently Netflix published an article explaining its Artwork personalization with specific explanations why they are doing it: they are customizing their product by singularizing their UX.

“We don’t have one product but over a 100 million different products with one for each of our members with personalized recommendations and personalized visuals.”

Last year Firebase launched its Predictions allowing, by using Google’s machine learning, to define dynamic audiences based on predicted behavior. It is indeed a huge step on the path to personalization!. With this is possible to foresee the user’s actions and, if used wisely together with Firebase Remote Config, developers can bring to the users a fully personalized user experience.

There are different cases. Netflix handles a customized UX per user while Firebase gives the tools to personalize the product’s UX. They are working hard having the customer as main focus. But there are three key characteristics of personalized product development which are defined coherently in order to maximize the personalization of a product: /product change, UX and co-creation/. Surely improving the first two features will increase the engagement of a product’s audience and consequently its revenue. But, what about the third characteristic: /co-creation/? (e.g. user participation on the development process). Could any product fully involve users into the development process?

Yes, they can. And one of many ways is to create stronger communication channels where users can easily give their needs and problems to product managers, designers and engineers in order to modify an already well customized product.

If the Feedback Loops are properly defined under a transactional model of communication , the third characteristic of mass personalization (co-creation) can be successfully implemented.

First published on Hackernoon

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