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How to design an app to hook users instantly

I recently spoke to Daniel McGlade, CEO of Belfast-based Oroson, a visual collaboration hub. I’ve been using Oroson lately, and I have […]

April 3, 2019

I recently spoke to Daniel McGlade, CEO of Belfast-based Oroson, a visual collaboration hub. I’ve been using Oroson lately, and I have found it genuinely more user-friendly than any other collaboration tool.

The visual nature of Oroson is key to its early success; adding to his accolades, Daniel just won Digital DNA’s Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Oroson enables you to upload content into a shared workspace, and comments are simple to see, as they lay down the right side of the page. Through open APIs, Oroson integrates files and data from places like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive.

TechWatch: How important is design?

DM: It’s built into the DNA of the company. Simplicity remains core to the platform and brand. Users by their nature don’t have a lot of patience when it comes to using any new system – if anything is extra or takes longer, they won’t bother with it.

TW: What about UX/CX?

DM: With any refinements or new features, everything comes first from the perspective of the end user: Does it make it easy for them to get value out of it?

The question that you need to ask is, how much value can they get from a feature, but also how quickly do they get that value?

You need to hook users’ attention instantly.

TW: When you’re changing people’s habits, speed of adoption is essential.

DM: How quickly can they get in? Every click is an opportunity for a user to get disenfranchised.

How do we remove clicks from the process? That was the question constantly on our minds. If users experience value sooner, they’re more likely to share it with others.

As a rule of thumb, an experience must be 10x better, or it’s highly likely they’ll revert back to old ways of doing things.

TW: Is it just the email habit you’re trying to break?

DM: Not really; we effectively unite a team’s technical infrastructure – Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox – we’re one place to connect all of those tools.

We’re not reducing the tools people have access to – we’re just making it easier.

TW: I waste way too much time searching for documents in Gmail. In Oroson, I can find things faster.

DM: Context switching is a thing too; the amount of time it takes you to switch from one task to another. A University of California study showed that if you context switch more than 5x in a day – your productivity goes down 50%.

TW: Do people get it?

Everyone is aware of the problem.

But they think there isn’t an easy solution at the moment.

We need to be as intuitive as possible because we want to appeal to under-30s. It’s content-first, and then communication comes around the content.

TW: Young people have different expectations.

DM: The future of work will reflect that visual environment that we’re all getting outside of work – especially younger people. Snapchat, Instagram, Youtube – they’re all visual.

Look at businesses as a whole – the trend is using more and more applications from different providers. Look at how many apps you have on your phone.

TW: What’s your sales process?

DM: The likes of Slack have paved the way for a bottoms-up SAAS approach. That is, small teams in an organisation will start to use something, and like it. It’s adopted by more and more people until the organisation has no choice but to bring it in.

TW: Why the name Oroson?

DM: I founded the company as I was leaving university. I was doing a last minute Prince’s Trust application to win a £5K grant. I admired Orson Wells, but that was taken, so I stuck another O in, and went with it. It’s worked well, with the symmetry of the three O’s.

TW: What are some of your design considerations?

DM: The UI needed to be engaging. Practicality of the product has to go beyond the design. The platform should fade into the background when you’re using it. Your content is what jumps forward.

That’s an art in itself – you can complicate things if it’s too heavy on the design side.

We dog food our own product. We test everything for a period of time before they go out to customers.

TW: Are you funded?

DM: We’ve raised £1.2m in investment across three funding rounds – and that was bolstered by £350k in grant funding.

Now we’re doing a seed round – raising a minimum of £1.2m with a potential to go up to £2m – and 75% of that is committed. It’s closing at the end of April.

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