Why You Should View Your Website as a Product

One of the best ways you can earn trust with your audience is simply by sharing how you think about the problems you help businesses solve. With that in mind, I’d like to share a little bit about how we think about what we might consider being our product: our business’s website.

Here are a few of the ideas we think it’s important for us to execute on our website succeeds:

Deliver a High-Quality User Experience

Perfecting Product’s website should deliver the type of experience people have using their favorite products:

A simple and focused user experience where users have a clearly defined user goal, high situational awareness, and high personal autonomy within the constraints of the interface that’s sitting before them.

This is what I look for in a product: Does it accomplish my needs? Is it easy to use? Do I know what it does? Does it solve a problem I find important?

Too often the creators of software products forget to ask themselves these simple questions and instead focus their time and energy building things users actually don’t care about.

Build an Authentic Brand

My second goal for the Perfecting Product website is to develop a brand that’s aligned with who I want to work with and what I’m working on.

I’m working on developing products, developing product knowledge, and learning about the challenges that come up when you’re trying to create products people love.

That means I spend my time building things, talking with people who build things, learning from their experience, and applying these lessons back to my own work.

The people I talk with to improve my product knowledge are primarily technical people: founders, developers, and product managers. They either develop software themselves or work directly with people who do.

To pay homage to the hard work people put into building software, I chose to use the “Source Code Pro” font to call back to how products are actually built.

I have deep respect for the effort people make when they invest their time and energy into learning the skills they need to build the software that enables the world around me.

Provide Useful and Non-Obvious Advice with the Necessary Context to Help People Make Real-World Decisions

Great products deliver information to users in contexts that they both understand and can use within specific and limited contexts. I want to ensure whatever advice offered on PerfectingProduct is given with the necessary context to help founders make key customer research, user testing, and product strategy decisions.

Here’s one such example:

“Delight the users” is an obvious piece of advice that’s often given to software devs, founders, PMs, etc.

But is it useful?

No, I’d argue it’s not. It’s just corporate filler speak masquerading as real advice in what is supposed to be spoken as an indefensible position. An obvious follow-up question would be “How do you measure user’s delight?” But then you might receive another filler parry from the speaker: “You’ll know it when you see it”

Code for the speaker either doesn’t know how to measure users’ delight or won’t tell you.

Do you know what might be a good answer?

Instead of the speaker saying “you have to delight your users”, he or she could walk you through a specific example of what delighting your users might look like. He or she could walk through how you might measure users’ progress through an existing set of user flows that are involved in accomplishing a user goal.

They could then talk about some of the ways founders might be able to measure users’ satisfaction towards achieving user goals you’ve defined as being important to your business or product and what sort of in-product mechanisms founders and PMs can use to reinforce this process and make it a habit-forming product.

The speaker could also say could say “Hey, ‘delight your users’ is great, but what about measuring the opposite emotions? How about we measure either how much our existing users hate the problem they’re currently experiencing or, ala Hacking Growth by Sean Ellis, how about we measure how disappointed our users would be if we went away as a product or as a business?”

Now that would be useful and non-obvious advice delivered with the context that’s needed to take action. Whether that action is developing new product features, identifying new opportunities for monetization, or showcasing simple product marketing opportunities with quick changes to in-product copy, context is key.

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