Why do some users adopt new technology quickly, while others are reluctant and try to stick to the status quo as long as possible?
The technology adoption curve provides an answer to this question. The curve goes back to Everett Rogers ("Diffusion of Innovations", 1995) and has inspired many studies around user adoption. Rogers suggests that users can be classified in different user segments, forming a bell-shaped curve. Thus, the adoption process typically follows a predictable pattern.
Click on the different user segment boxes in the following chart to learn more about the respective user group!
User Segments of Technology Adoption
But how does user adoption evolve over time? By adding up the users who already adopted a new technology at a certain point in time, you can see the growth of adoption.
The resulting curve is shaped like an "S". This is due to the fact that the adoption of a new technology tends to start slowly, with only small user segments integrating the new technology into their daily routines. The curve then gets steeper, when the adoption rate accelerates with larger user segments joining in. At the end, the curve flattens again, as it is usually difficult to also win over the remaining, rather reluctant and technology-averse users.
Organizational change management can have a positive impact on user adoption. To find out more, please click on the box in the following chart.
User Adoption Curve
To summarize: Knowing the classification of user segments and the dynamics of user adoption helps to really understand the user adoption process: You must move from left to right in the adoption curve and can’t just jump to the 100% adoption level, even in the context of mandatory software.
Organizational change management can identify potential bottlenecks or barriers to user adoption, address the separate user segments with tailor-fit strategies and activities – and thus significantly accelerate user adoption.