The UX of Risk Profiles

By | September 27, 2010

I have a wide variety of risk profiles.  In a restaurant, I like to try odd combinations of foods that I don’t know if they will taste good together.  On the other hand, I have a much lower tolerance for risk when it comes to driving.  In my professional career, I have been open to new ideas and the risk associated.  However, put me in a casino and I will refuse to bet more than a few hundred dollars a year.  I am not a gambler.

In our lives and the lives of our customers, we must be aware of the risk profiles we are presenting to our users.  What is the risk of buying your product or service?  You may  have crappy software; you may go out of business; a competitor may be much better for some reason.  What are the perceived rewards of going with you?  Are you presenting those risk/reward concepts in a way that puts in a position to win?

How risky do your customers think you are and how willing are they to take a chance?


Imagine you are selling a drug that has a 99% chance of success, but a 1% chance that you suddenly drop dead.  This would be pretty good if the drug cured terminal cancer.  However, if it cured hay fever, those percentages would be pretty bad.

Look at Amazon’s rating system.  Do you focus on the negatives or the positives?  Do your customers do the same?  Understanding risk and it’s associated perception is key to building a successful relationship with your customers.  Those who ignore it are taking a pretty big gamble.

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