There are specific techniques you can use in a systematic way to make sure your 3D printable designs are being downloaded, printed and used by people that would benefit from the design. In my recent blog post on MakerShop I talk about 3 techniques you can use to increase adoption of your 3D printer models.
The first technique is to write down use cases that define what the user’s goal is and the steps the user can take using your 3D printed design to accomplish that goal. User goals are simply something the user desires, like getting an everyday task done faster. A use case is a single way that the user/consumer can achieve that. If you find yourself discouraged about not being able to invent something new with 3D printing, then flip your perspective.
Inventing something that can only be 3D printed should not be your goal, unless you’re a rocket scientist. The practical way for you to really make an impact and increase user adoption of your designs is to make things that people can use to achieve their everyday goals.
The second technique I write about is the importance of optimizing your 3D printer design for printing. If you design this awesome thing that you want everyone to use, but it takes 8 hours to print and requires a lot of post-print cleanup, then you will hurt your user adoption rate.
I’ve been working with a 3D printer designer local to Charlotte, NC who has taught me the importance of this optimization technique. His name is Ali Bahar if you want to contact him. Sometimes it requires altering the design, designing for minimal supports and making multiple pieces print side-by-side. There is a point of diminishing returns, where the cost of the material is the major roadblock, but make sure your design isn’t adding any extra complications. The main test I use to understand if I should stop optimizing or not is to ask the question, “Can the design be changed to reduce costs and complexity and still help the user achieve their goal?” If the answer is yes then I optimize more and if the answer is no then I stop and release the design.
The third technique to increase user adoption is to demonstrate to everyone visiting your website or other sales channels how other users have used your design to reach their goals. If you have seen the Wolf of Wall Street, then you have learned an important lesson about sales and thus user adoption as well. People do not want to hear about how nice your design is. People want to know what your design can do for them. Even more simply put, people don’t want to be convinced of needing to take action. They want a desire they currently hold to instantly be met using your design. Using videos, photos and write-ups of real people using your design to do just that goes a long way in demonstrating to people that simply by getting your design in their hands they will be on the road to reaching that goal of theirs.
A simple test I use for this is to ask myself, “Am I using nouns to describe my design or I am I using nouns and verbs to describe the user of my design.” I want to talk using nouns and verbs to describe the user of my design. This includes how I write copy on the shop pages on 3D printer marketplace MakerShop as well as any audio in videos.