Quality is hygiene these days: even TV sets and irons from obscure brands found at Wal-Mart work flawlessly. Another incentive to try out the unknown. And yes, to be less brand-loyal. A telling finding: only 26 percent of digital camera buyers say they would purchase the same camera brand in the future — down from 35 percent in 2005, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2006 Digital Camera Satisfaction Study.
I read the quote above in the latest briefing on Trysumers from Trendwatching.com. It made me think. If quality is standard in the material world, is this also the case on the internet?
Take the old MySpace case for example. Quality? Hardly; at least not when it comes to uptime, functionality or design. But there’s definitely quality in the aspect that it works as a social binder for a lot of informal relationships. So the feeling of satisfaction is there, and it’s what makes people come back. As a matter of fact, it was so high that people could live with “unexpected errors” for long periods of time.
The Nordic gay community Qruiser had (has?) a similar situation. Users had to wait for up to 25 minutes – just to be able to login. Still, it didn’t deter them from the site. The experienced quality, once logged in, was greater than the lack of quality regarding the technical structure.
With these two cases in mind, it seems quality on the internet is much more about the complete user experience, rather than a fully functional site that is always up and running. Compared to the aforementioned examples with an iron or a TV, this is not the case. How many would perceive quality in a TV that only worked some of the time?
Please add a comment or two if you have any ideas on the subject. I’m not quite sure what I think at the moment.