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Idea: Provide content tools that will amplify your customer’s capabilities

Two years ago, Bret Victor, a former Apple designer whose job was to experiment with new ways for users to interact with technology, wrote a blog post titled, “A Brief Rant on the Future of Interaction Design.” In it, he challenged developers to broaden their visions of future interactions with technology beyond the cliché of pointing and dragging with one’s fingers. Why use just fingers when you can use a person’s entire hand, or even their entire body? he asked.

His post also provides a framework to help challenge organizations to think about certain types of customer media and content as “tools”—not just marketing copy or search engine fodder. A tool, writes Victor, “converts what we can do into what we want to do … (it) addresses human needs by amplifying human capabilities.”

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: The customer media and content you provide after the sale, when a shopper becomes an owner, is what adds value to your products and services and creates customers for life.

But far too often, companies consider content intended for owners as an after-thought, or hardly consider it at all. For example, why is the “some assembly required” instruction sheet you find enclosed with products so inferior in quality to the content they created to sell you the product?

Here’s a better way. Treat the owner’s manuals, how-tos, tutorials, source-books, online guides, conferences, classes, etc., as “Content Tools”—content created specifically to enhance the customer’s ability to use the product or service with greater skill, efficiency and even enjoyment.
Give your customers content tools that amplify their capabilities, and you’ll define the future of the market you serve.

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