Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Roku and product installation success

Last night, at the urging of a friend, I installed my first Roku device. Roku (www.roku.com) is a small box that delivers on demand Netflix movies to your TV.

The setup (from box to activation) was less than 10 minutes. That includes connecting the HDMI cable, the small power adapter, and activation with Netflix. That experience reinforced my belief that most product impressions are made within the first 15 minutes. After successfully installing, configuring, and using Roku, I'm a believer.

I'm also a believer that product installation and configuration is a true litmus test for a well designed product. I've had similar experiences with my iPhone, iMac, and Tivo. Add Roku to the list.

For Instant, during a recent product cycle on TeamSessions, we focused on the installation and configuration experience. Our goal was to take a 3 hour process and condense it to less than 30 minutes. At a recent customer deployment in San Diego, I witnessed first hand that our efforts were successful. A customer deployed our Sametime persistent chat rooms http://www.instant-tech.com/Team_Sessions.cfm (from download URL to chat room usage) in less than 26 minutes (we were both timing the process). Of course, installation and configuration are only one benchmark for design, but from where I sit, the first experience speaks volumes about the entire product philosophy.