I’ve gotten a bunch of peeps thinking I went way too easy on the conversion post. Here’s a bit more detail.
My 3 successful scenarios
When it has a strong value proposition to the user
The basic rational scenario. It’s always a trade-off. Is the value of the result greater than the effort the user? This applies to commerce, hand-raisers, or information exchange… it’s all the same theory. This is the most highly tweaked approach, and results are wildly different for each use.
When it is a logical step in a user’s mental model
Here is where we earn our money. Understanding a user’s mental model is one thing, but being able to construct and alter a mental model through interaction is pretty awesome. Realize you are always creating a conversation / relationship through every interaction, no matter how small. Being able to engage someone strongly in that interaction, and provide a positive and logical step to conclusion is an art form. See also: Con Men, Ronco and Cults.
When it replaces a real-world task in a better way
The easiest to do, and the hardest to make successful. Renewing your license plates on-line is far easier than standing in line at the Secretary of State (or DMV for non-Michiganders), but the first iterations of that process were so poorly done, standing in line was preferable. It was an excellent case of a great idea with horrible execution. We’ve been through many of the commerce versions of this, and it’s pretty much solidified. Arranging travel, not so much.
I could go on for days on these, but the only way to make any of these successful is to practice patience and continued effort….
Let’s say it all together : BUILD… TEST… REVISE… BUILD… TEST… REVISE… BUILD… TEST… REVISE…and so on to infinity.