When you hype up your app, the user’s expectation of the app will heighten. That much is apparent. More remarkable is the fact that hype will also distort the user’s reality. Hype pulls the user’s reality up to match their expectation of the hype (Figure 1). So much so that when they finally gets their hands on your app, they will experience your app with that distorted reality.
Case study: An app developer has created a smart keyboard app with word prediction. Internal tests show a prediction accuracy of 60% (Reality). The app description says the app has “good word prediction capability”, a little exaggerated since 60% is only a passable precision level. But the hype will distort the user’s reality. When he tries the app, he will experience the app as having “good” word prediction, just like what the hyped-up app description discloses.
You can, and will, distort a person’s reality as long as you don’t over-exaggerate. Exaggeration is hunky-dory as long as the developer doesn’t overdo it. When an app developer over-trumpets his app, a large gap is created between what the app can really do (Reality) and the hype/expectation (Figure 2). This large opening wipes out reality distortion altogether. Trouble then brews. The gap backfires and the backlash can be severe – from users pooh-poohing and giving his app a one-star rating, to spewing nasty comments about the app, to downright shunning the developer and any apps he may develop in the near future. Everything comes crashing down to earth, leaving the developer looking like a babbling idiot.
Taking the smart keyboard app example; you will be overhyping if you tell users your app has a “shockingly accurate word prediction” when the reality is 60% accuracy. “Shockingly accurate” will send your users to expect a near 100% accuracy, creating that morbidly wide gap. And when users use your smart keyboard app, they will be in for a rude shock.
A little hype has an almost divine impact on your app, but over-bullshitting makes it disappointingly anticlimactic.
Featured art: smcamp.com.ua