After his keynote at the Las Vegas conference, an attendee asked Jacob Nielsen whether aggressive marketing is influencing the user experience of intelligent agents like Alexa.
Well, that’s a good question, but I actually don’t think so. I really think that it is. Well, they’ve been overhyped for sure, so that you can say it’s the fault of the marketing. But on the other hand, is also definitely the fault of the usability, no usability that people don’t turn to them for the needs they actually have. So people can generate a long list of things. I’d like the thing to do is I like to think to do that, but they don’t turn to the thing for that because their experience has been bitterly negative when they have tried in the past various things. And so what we found in researching this is that users tend to stay within a very narrow or limited set of tasks, despite the advertising and marketing is that men, Alexa comes with, you know, thousands and thousands so-called skills.
It can do that. It can hypothetically. I mean, technologically, it can do that. But from the people perspective, it cannot do that because people try a few times and they fail and they don’t want to do it again. If you promote something as being mad, it can do all these great things. And people try a few of those things and it fails. It fails them, then they’re not going to try very much more. And so you really set yourself up to fail in the long run, because what’s called resampling, which is to get people that tried it already, assembled the thing already. And now next year you go up and say, oh, man, it’s better try again while people have bad. They burnt that burnt burned them. They know what to do it again if they have a negative experience. So it’s actually in the long run in this kind of longitudinal user experience, which is rarely considered.
But if you think about that, long term experience is actually quite problematic to to overhype something and make people get the bad experience of it having low usability and then they’re not going to try again.