People today buy experiences, not products. You’ve probably heard this before. It’s a catchy phrase; one you may have even dismissed. At face value, it sounds as though it could be an empty business term. However, when you step back and reflect, user experience is one of, if not the most important, keys to your product’s ultimate success.
Let’s turn back the clock to 1995 and use SOLIDWORKS as the example. At the time, million dollar machines and UNIX-based workstations dominated the CAD world. CAD was only an option for the highest end, privileged users. Enter PC-based CAD from SOLIDWORKS.
Taking an experience that was once reserved for the few and opening it to the mainstream revolutionized how designers and engineers executed their day-to-day work. While at the end of the day CAD was the product, how people experienced and innovated with it is what made SOLIDWORKS a huge market success.
How about some other examples? I started to think about my own perceptions on this evolution from products to experience. How experience keeps us engaged and motivated to continue coming back to respective businesses. Through experience, we become advocates and champions.
My experience involves a workout routine. I’m a member of the CrossFit gym in my town. It very much feels like the opposite of gym stereotypes. You know the ones, with rows of exercise machines and scary muscleheads yelling at heavy weights. CrossFit to me is more than just exercise. It’s a community experience. I typically attend class at the same time each day so I see the same people and we’ve formed relationships. I can always count on them to cheer me on and provide encouragement. We’re genuinely happy working together toward our fitness goals. I’m almost 100 percent certain we’re all smiling at the end of our time together.
While the product itself is a gym, the experience is much deeper. It’s fellowship. It’s comradery. It’s showing up for others and yourself. It’s a feeling that you can endure any obstacle in your path. The experience also extends to the rest of my life. I feel better about myself. I have the energy to run around with my kids. I feel more confident about having success in my daily tasks. The experience has become very much a part of who I am, and that’s why I keep coming back. That’s why experience is important.
Does it get any more boring than budgeting? It’s painful, eye-opening, sobering, and daunting all at the same time. As if I needed any more stress in my life. I recently sought help with a budgeting app that has changed my entire perspective on bookkeeping. The app helps me break down spending into buckets for a full view of expenses. I can see where money can be saved, shifted, or better spent. The line of thinking has enabled me to give every dollar a job. This has increased accountability in my spending by prioritizing which “job” will better serve my life today, and in the future. I paid for an app, but the user experience has improved my spending AND saving habits, while setting me up to achieve life goals important for me and my family. The experience has changed how I operate.
Ok, hear me out on this one: My experience involves VCRs/VHS tapes. Growing up in the 80s, tapes bring back awesome memories. The videos store. Getting the tape I wanted at the video store. Renting Spaceballs again because they did not have the tape I wanted. Making mix tapes of the Simpson’s Halloween specials. Rewinding. Recording my appearances on local access television. The VHS aesthetic, from the box art and grainy pictures to the crackling sound, provides me with a sense of comfort. While many people were clearing out basements and garages over the last few years, thrift stores received a huge influx of VCRs and VHS tapes. Looking for new ways to spend time, I took up the collecting and watching hobby. It’s been fun to introduce my kids to the world of VHS and the experiences that go along with it. We even found a working video store that still rents tapes. We’ve learned how to record streaming content to VHS; opening them up to the magical world of mixtapes. With all due respect to playlists, they’re just not the same.
I’ve discovered a vibrant community of people around the world who share this hobby and create a lot of fun around it; including mixtapes for charity, VHS box art for modern movies, and even VHS lamps. Thrifting tapes is another source of joy. Going to a thrift shop today reminds me of the excitement of visiting a rental store not entirely sure what you’re going to find, but you’re amped all the same. I guess this is a long way of saying that if an experience is strong enough it can outlast obsolescence. Sure it’s easier to stream and rent from a remote, but not all experiences are created equal. It’s wild to think that something as simple as a VCR, a device many would consider obsolete, could impact my life in so many ways.
As these examples show, experience is crucial to your end users embracing your products. Experience might not be the first idea that comes to mind while trying to meet deadlines. It might even come off as another box to tick.
That brings us to SOLIDWORKS 2023. Going back to SOLIDWORKS ’95, our mission has been to make product design tools that are available to everyone. Democratizing CAD has led to enhancements for breaking down barriers to collaboration, improving your design productivity, and expanding your horizons beyond CAD.
The goal was and continues to be to help you work smarter, faster, and together. A few examples of this year’s enhancements include streamlined assembly workflows, efficiency upgrades in sheet metal design, and multi-body modeling improvements for faster geometry creation. The “why” is to empower you to dedicate as much time to design as is possible. To truly collaborate with your colleagues and customers and not just share files. To focus on the projects that will generate powerful user experiences. To enable your full potential.
I invite you to explore What’s New in SOLIDWORKS 2023. Visit the website to view technical demo videos, learn about key enhancements, and register for a reseller event near you for an in-person experience with SOLIDWORKS 2023.