The new normal handbook for product managers

Are you a product manager, developer or SaaS founder? Check out this handbook on the changing tech preferences of consumers in the Covid era.

If you lead or manage a product team, finding out which applications people are using most on their devices might help you understand changing preferences during Covid but if you asked instead, "How are people changing how they use apps on their phones/laptops during the lockdown?" the answer might take you from "what" to "why." Now this is interesting because getting to the root of the matter means you'll solve for long-term solutions instead of short-term hacks.

We selected 14 people from a pool of 83 survey respondents to participate in an in-depth month-long study on daily tech habits, preferences, and challenges during the lockdown in India. 194 hours of research, 163 photographs and 147 audio testimonials later we can confidently say that we have a pretty good handle on how applications are being used, repurposed and incorporated into the new "normal" that has come to define the last year and a half.

"I mostly use Gmail and WhatsApp… Gmail is generally for work purpose... WhatsApp is also for work purpose... It is easy for transactions to be tracked... official communication is convenient on WhatsApp."
Poocho Pal, 24 years old

Here are our top 5 learnings around desired product experiences:

  1. Apps are being used by people of different age groups - our youngest participant was 19 years old while the oldest was 59. Create an app experience that is "ageless."
  2. Conversational design is the way to go. Be friendly. People are mentally exhausted as is, lockdown and all!
  3. Go with where your usage data takes you. We found students repurposing YouTube for educational knowledge when once it reigned supreme for entertainment only.
  4. Incorporate chatting, groups or communities to encourage more free-flowing dialogue. The more distanced people are, the more they yearn connection!
  5. Apps dealing with sensitive subjects like finances should have intuitive web interfaces as well. We found participants actively choosing mobile versus laptop interactions depending on the job-to-be-done.

*Participant name is changed to protect identity.

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