A short history of collaboration
So what do mr. clean, pringles, and quaker oats have in common with b2b brands like mailchimp, hootsuite, and intercom?
Faces – they all have faces.
We like faces by genetic inclination; a University of Nottingham study from 2015 showed that people prefer a gambling machine with a human-esque face.
But why do we like faces? A subset of gamblers surveyed who believed they had the ability to manipulate people were more likely to choose the humanoid one-armed bandit.
In short, we like faces on our brand because we like people, even in our business software, we want there to be someone there. Like Clippy but not an annoying geek.
Clippy was sort of a starting point for anthropomorphism in products and while he was “fired”, he’s back.
If you trace the arc of product UX since the advent of Internet software, the human presence gradually inserts itself.
For example, product onboarding went from “read the manual please” to a guided human-like tour, then we got personalized recommendations, then chatbots.
B2B tech platforms levelled up in the last decade by pairing chatbots with not just real people, with clear faces and real names, but with intelligent people; for a time, a support chat on Pantheon.io yielded a conversation with legit open source web developer.
But the pinnacle is the real person you know, collaborating inside the software with you, inside the tool, doing the work with you – Basecamp, Balsamiq, Invision, Figma, Google Docs.
That’s quite an arc – from a the mustachioed cartoon guy on the Pringles can, all the way to the real person you know and trust, in the chat thread.
The message is pretty simple: use our product and work in collaboration to get what you need.
(This was originally published on Art of Message – subscribe here)