The bar has been raised for building products people will love. Today we need to consider three layers of the web, all of which needs to be addressed in a great product. Imaging a pyramid consisting of:
Bottom layer: Content: The first challenge is simply to get relevant interesting content. This used to be an end goal in itself but the bar has been moved.
Middle layer: Utility: Products need to solve a real problem. During the last 10 years we’ve seen a lot of products built that didn’t do that. In particular in the space of location (checkins does not solve a problem normal people have), social (half the stuff in my stream is just noise) and photo sharing (why do i need this photo?). This will change. Forrester’s CEO explains why here, explaining how social network penetration is so high there is no new ground.
Top layer: Emotional: The new holy ground is shifting focus from technological capabilities and back to human nature. How can we create products with good content, which solve a problem and which people care to use. Certain products become a part of how people see themselves (iphone users, rails developers) and it’s this level of connectivity we need to aim for. People need to care and feel good about using the products. The renewed focus on design, great visuals, audio, social in everything is a part of that important mission.