Technology is no longer the benign desktop computer in our basements. Technology is now integrated in to all parts of our lives and many tech items double as status symbols and fashion accessories. The distinct style and customizable features of some tech products allow the consumer to express him or herself in unique and interesting ways. This change in technology also means a change in consumer adoption.
In Gillian Smith’s intro to Designing Interactions she talks briefly about David Liddle’s view on technology adoption. I looked at this model, and Everett Roger’s diffusion of innovation model, to analyze how these models fit current technology adoption practices of consumer products.
David Liddle’s Technology Adoption Model:
- Enthusiast – excited for technology and use technology for technologies sake
- Professional – people who use technology are not the ones who buy it
- Consumer – less interested in technology itself, and more interested in what it can do for them
Everett Roger’s Diffusion of Innovation Model:
- Innovators – venturesome, educated, multiple info sources, greater propensity to take risk
- Early adopters – social leaders, popular, educated
- Early majority – deliberate, many informal social contacts
- Late majority – skeptical, traditional, lower socio-economic status
- Laggards – neighbors and friends are main info sources, fear of debt
One thing that both models have in common is early adopters. The two models define them differently, but in both cases these are the first people to buy your product (often at a high price point).
Technology products are traditionally nerdy, esoteric, and unstylish. They were rarely used to express the unique style and tastes of the consumer. An early adaptor would have to be an enthusiast (or interested in this type of new technology) and they probably would also have to be educated, venturesome, and informed. This means the person would essentially have to be a very early adopter by both Liddle’s & Roger’s standards.
As technology products become more integrated in to our everyday lives and they become forms of self expression and style, this adoption begins to change. Early adopters no longer have to be an early adopter by both Liddle’s & Roger’s standards. Sure, they still probably have to be educated, venturesome, and informed, but the interest in technology for technologies sake is no longer necessary. One example would be the iPhone. Teenage girls buy iPhones, not because they are interested in the revolutionary UI or any of the technology itself, but because it’s a status symbol that says something about who they are.
This means that the demographics of early adaptors is changing and new technologies that double as status symbols, fashion accessories, or other forms of self-expression have much larger number of early adopters.