“Yahoo!” almost equals “Internet” in Vietnam.
Yahoo! Messenger, Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! 360 and Flickr are the four products that lead the market. While Yahoo!’s email market share has slowly been sucked up by Google, all four of them are still dominating. We also talk about Yahoo! 360 Plus and Yahoo! Profile here and there but these 2 shall be covered later.
What’s good about it? The good thing is that the majority of Vietnamese Internet users share the same type of knowledge offered by Yahoo! products.
…which I call Foundation Wisdom.
These might be very obvious and basic. However, I want to list them in a clear manner to reuse them as premise for further brainstorms and discussions.
Just don’t underestimate this point. My director in his fifties was amazed by the fact that there are so many good software for free (he was mentioning Facebook) and my father hadn’t believed in a free thing before I explained how new advertising worked to him.
Now that the younger users (GenY) are used to having things for free.
2. Tolerance to ads
Wow a good thing. They don’t mind seeing ads on their Yahoo! 360 pages or Yahoo! Messenger, so won’t moan about advertisements flying on new sites.
3. Simplicity in achieving a goal
Product makers shouldn’t confuse simplicity in achieving a goal with simplicity in design. We are familiar with praising Google and Apple’s simplicity in design, but what I’m discussing is how simple it is for users to achieve a goal when using your service, especially for the first time.
What is the goal with Yahoo! 360? Write blog entries, read updates, comment, write quick comments. And that’s all. 360 makes it simple for them by offering simple features.
Users love design customization offered in Yahoo! 360 and wishes to see that in any other site.
Users are used to using guest book (or quick comment in 360) as the communication channel.
Confusion: blog and social network
I bet many users are confused between a blogging platform and a social network if they ever care.
Confusion: add friend, follow and subscribe
Many users wouldn’t bother distinguishing “add friend”, “follow” or “subscribe”. 360 offers “add friend” and “subscribe”. 360plus offers “follow” and “subscribe”.
Users are accustomed to writing testimonials for one another. While the initial intention of testimonial is to recommend good attributes of the recommended, many have used this feature to simply express their fondness toward one another.
But nevertheless, they’re familiar with this concept anyway.
Status has always been offered by Yahoo! Messenger. But it takes off with Yahoo! 360 blast. Users don’t only update their status on the blast but utilize it for many short contents: quotes, life philosophy, messages…
It’s a good thing that creativity is encouraged.
Yahoo! 360 allows media embed and it is a great thing that this rather advanced feature has become known by users.
Users are used to a set of languages in Yahoo! products.
i.e. “Quick comment”, not “Wall” or “Scrapbook”. “Testimonial”, not “Recommendation”.
Personal and emotional
Many Vietnamese users use 360 for personal purpose and chiefly write about their emotions and relationships.
Many write for page views and use page views as the only metric to measure success of contents.
Some of the hottest blogs in Vietnamese attribute to hot news that center celebrity gossips, sex-related topics.
Briefly, how to take advantage of this
1. User education doesn’t have to start from scratch
Make use of their current knowledge. Build your education on that.
You can even set an ego gift for your customers. Make them feel like after using your service, their level of technological insights has been improved. This, firstly, makes them feel good about themselves. Next, imagine your users proudly educate others about a new service and become a guru in their friends’ eyes. This further boosts their satisfaction.
2. Make it simple for users to achieve their goal
Good, no need to throw advanced features to users in the first launch. What needs done is the core feature(s) that bring(s) most values to users.
Rule of thumb: users’ patience toward complexity proportionates to the value of the goal to them.
3. Colorful design and profile layout customization
Colorful design is a must. And being colorful is not mutual exclusive to simplicity.
While customization is not relevant to some types of services such as social news, it’s recommended to provide the ability to customize one’s profile.
Exploit the set of language from legacy Yahoo! products.
Exploit the set of concepts from legacy Yahoo! products. If you have to introduce new concepts, find way to introduce it with the language users are familiar with.
6. Make it personal and emotional
7. Don’t (have to) host contents, but be a platform to spread contents
Good is embed exists. Better is users are familiar with it.
What it means here is that you don’t have to host original contents, but need to build platforms that media can be embedded in and focus on how to allow such contents to be spread on by your service.