4 June 2012

UX challenges when building collaborative consumption platforms

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Rachel Botsman, founder and chief innovator of the Collaborative Lab (part of the Collaborative Consumption movement) writes that the biggest initial barrier to implementing Collaborative Consumption ideas is typically inertia.

Some common questions are: “How do we use technologies to enable trust between strangers? What’s the best approach for building critical mass? How do we know when and how to scale? How do we design a user experience that gets to the heart of what people want?”

In two blog posts on the NESTA site, Botsman synthesized “some key learning around what it takes to successfully address these questions” with examples from a few start-ups.

Critical mass and scale
The first big issue to address is building a critical mass of inventory (users, products or services) on both the supply and demand sides of the equation. The second issue is when and how to scale up.

Trust and user experience
Design and user experience are absolutely critical in building a successful and distinctive Collaborative Consumption platform and strong community of early-ambassadors, yet it is often overlooked in favour of optimum functionality or speed-to-market.

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