Out of Box Experience - 5 ways to make it work

20 May 2009 - 6:25am
1866 reads
Frank Long

The out of box experience (OOBE) describes the users first interaction
with a product or service. In the technology sector this first
experience invariably involves plugging stuff in, installing some
software and crossing your fingers in the hope that the product will
work. The problem is that, in far too many cases, it doesn’t.

Recent conducted by Accenture in the US shows that each year
consumers return millions of electronic products – not because they
don’t work, but because customers think they don’t work. Home
networking products are one of the most problematic categories. Not
only is the market being hit by high volumes of product returns (68%
of which are due to poor OOBE), but added to this is the cost of
customer support averaging at USD 25 per call. The total cost of poor
OOBE in the US alone is USD 13.8 billion.

So why are home networking products so difficult to get out of the
box? There are a number of factors. Until recently Wi-Fi networking
has been the domain of the Sys Admin. Products, procedures and
terminology have evolved in ways that require user with specialist
expertise to understand them. Recently, the demand for Wi-Fi products
in the has exploded and consequently, the level of technical expertise
has fallen. Novice users have now replaced specialist as the primary
user group. However, manufacturers have been slow to recognise this –
with predictable results; increased product returns and higher
customer support costs.

5 ways to a better Out of Box Experience
We have completed several large-scale analysis and design projects in
the OOBE field. Through our research we have documented 5 key steps
that should be followed to improve your products chances of success.

1- Know your customers - not everyone understands technology as well
as your engineering team.

2- Understand the purchasing environment - how are your customers
going to make a purchasing decision - based on packaging, demo, sales

3 - Provide a clear and easy-to-use task flow - from the outside of
the box through to the set-up instructions, installation CD and quick
start guide.

4- Test your designs with real customers - you will always learn
something that can improve your OOBE

5- Be consistent - OOBE is already becoming a key part of the
consumer electronics brand landscape

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