Episode 53: Human Relationships and Product w/Karin Eklund

13 April, 2021 / Host: PETRA FÄRM

Leveraging Human Relationships for Creating Lovable Products

In a digital age dominated by technological advancements, understanding the science of human relationships can be a powerful tool for businesses. In this episode of The Productbeats Show, Karin Eklund, a renowned expert in user experience and autonomous products, discusses the profound impact that human relationships can have on the creation and success of products. Eklund explores how the stages of relational development can inform product design, onboarding experiences, and long-term user loyalty. By incorporating these insights, companies can forge stronger connections with their users and create truly lovable products.

The Initial Attraction: The Power of Aesthetics

  • If it's messy or ugly, or if you have spelling flaws and so on, it will actually add on to a lot more negative thoughts about your product than just the flaws that you are showing.

In the early stages of product engagement, users are attracted to visually appealing products. Eklund explains the concept of the halo effect, wherein a product's aesthetics can influence perceptions of its quality and competency. Just as humans tend to view attractive individuals more positively, users are more likely to form a favorable impression of a visually pleasing product. As such, investing in graphical interfaces and attractive product design becomes crucial in this phase.

The Engagement Phase: Building Trust and User Onboarding

  • Trust and user onboarding are particularly crucial in the context of autonomous vehicles, where conveying the usability and reliability of the system is vital.

Once users decide to engage further with a product, trust becomes paramount. Eklund emphasizes the importance of seamless functionality and user onboarding experiences. Today's technology users expect immediate and intuitive interactions, making a smooth onboarding process essential for gaining their trust. This is particularly pertinent in the case of autonomous vehicles, where user confidence in the system's capabilities is crucial.

Relational Maintenance: Fostering Loyalty and Evolving Products

  • Loyalty is accumulated over time. What you do here will truly affect the bond you create with your users over time.

Building and maintaining a stable relationship with users requires continuous effort. Eklund draws parallels between human relationships and product relationships, highlighting the significance of loyalty and investment. Companies can enhance user loyalty by adding new functionality over time, leveraging technology such as cloud-based platforms to enable product evolution. Just as humans change and grow, products must adapt and improve to meet evolving user needs.

Coming Apart: Addressing User Dissatisfaction

  • When users begin questioning whether to stay or go, it presents an opportunity to address their concerns and rekindle the relationship with new features or upgrades.

Despite best efforts, there may come a point when users contemplate leaving a product. Eklund discusses the stages of coming apart, including circumscribing and stagnation. Users may start finding reasons to disengage or perceive that the product no longer suits their needs. In this critical phase, companies have an opportunity to actively engage with users, reestablishing the relational maintenance phase or introducing new product offerings to retain their loyalty.


  • Imperfections Build Bonds: Imperfect autonomous products create stronger user bonds, as small mistakes make them relatable and increase user interaction.
  • Visual Appeal Matters: During the experimenting phase, the graphical interface and product design significantly impact user attraction. The halo effect highlights the importance of a visually appealing product.
  • Relational Maintenance is Crucial: Continuous improvements, added functionality, and leveraging cloud technology help maintain strong user relationships and foster loyalty over time. Proactively addressing user concerns prevents relationship deterioration.

Speaking of fostering strong relationships and gaining expertise in product management, The Productbeats Show is proud to introduce The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program. This comprehensive program is designed to equip aspiring product managers with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the dynamic world of product development. By enrolling in this program, you'll gain insights into the science of human relationships, learn effective product design strategies, and understand the importance of relational maintenance. The Productbeats Product Management Certification Program is your gateway to becoming a successful product manager, enabling you to create lovable products and forge meaningful connections with users. Take your career to new heights by joining the program today.
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