Blockchain & the Test-Drive — The Importance of Taking Software for A Spin
It’s time to buy a new car.
You’re excited, full of anticipation, you can almost smell that intoxicating ‘new car’ aroma already. You’ve combed through all the brochures, read all the reviews, and had a long talk with the salesperson.
But there’s one crucial stage of the process left, one that you’d be a fool to pass up. It’s one that matters more than all the reading you’ve done and all the review videos you’ve watched. It’s your chance to get behind the wheel and really feel what your new ride is like — a few minutes of real experience that outclasses all the marketing materials you’ll ever read.
In another scenario, your antivirus software is looking a bit shaky. You’ve had three security issues in the last month, and you really can’t afford to lose access to your computer for even a day.
You’ve been online and searched through all the forums and comparison sites, and found a few bundles that look like a good fit. Once again, you’ve read the reviews and the spec, spoken to some customers, and you’re almost ready to buy.
But before you tie yourself into that hefty subscription, there’s one important final stage. 30 free days of the antivirus program will give you enough time to see with your own eyes what it can offer, and if it will really provide you with the security you sorely need.
Both of these situations probably sound familiar. Whether it’s test-driving a car, trialing some software, or trying out a session at a new gym, we’ve all taken advantage of free trials at some point in the past. There are so many things that we wouldn’t buy if we couldn’t test them out a little first.
And trials are good news for companies, too. One study on over-the-top media showed that around a third of free trials turned into a paid subscription, and abuse of free trials was extremely rare.
Free trials and test periods are so important, and good software developers know that all too well. In fact, the app industry is already offering free trials as a matter of course.
But one industry that could really benefit from offering its users more opportunity to test is blockchain. To find out why, let’s look into the reasons why free trials are so important, and what decentralized app developers could gain from offering them.
Why testing is so important
With a trial, people get to really feel the product without having to commit to it. Long, descriptive whitepapers and instructional videos sure do a good job of getting the information across, but there’s no substitute for hands-on experience.
A trial is an easy, smooth way for users to find out if they really like a product. Also, once they’ve tried it and had their mind successfully blown, users are likely to turn into customers. Simply offering them the option to subscribe can be a bit off-putting, whereas easing them in with a no strings attached trial is much more appealing.
When it comes to dApps, testing is even more important, because most people still don’t fully understand how blockchain works and the benefits it can offer. Security, transparency, ease of access, privacy, and efficiency are just words on a page if the user can’t experience these benefits for themselves.
And since dApps (and blockchain in general) are still fairly new (but fast-growing) technology, many would-be customers are daunted by the process and choose not to get involved at all. Offering an easy, affordable way to trial the technology before making any kind of commitment would help ease new users into the industry without overwhelming them.
Blockchain and dApp developers can’t expect new users to just sign up and buy a bunch of their tokens without knowing what the software is all about, so it’s vital to offer them an easy way to test the waters.
There are a number of ways to increase engagement with decentralized software and offer users the ability to try before they commit. For developers and enthusiasts, events like DAPPCON in Berlin and the DApp DEV Conference in Kyiv offer a valuable opportunity to get more hands-on with the technology surrounding dApps and blockchain.
For end users, there are other options.
Take Cardstack for instance, who are building a platform where users can try dApps, along with regular apps, all in one place without having to manage multiple subscriptions or coin portfolios. This allows people to really experience and dive into decentralized software in a user-friendly hub.
Users will have the ability to trial dApps and manage a range of different ones, easily switching between their favorite features. Meanwhile, developers will get rewarded fairly, based on the popularity of individual features they designed.
Projects like these are a way to encourage more participation in the world of the blockchain, without deterring users with complex requirements and big commitments. Importantly, this kind of system offers something that promotional materials can’t — hands-on experience.
By taking the software for a spin, users will be able to really understand what it does and how it can benefit them, and this could drive blockchain adoption in a serious way.