Profiling the Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards

In a meeting a while ago, we were describing our company's early adopters. I realized this should have been an exercise performed earlier when we first began developing our product. From the design perspective, I'll create user profiles of the end user, but sometimes this does not capture the early adopter. The terminology 'early adopter' communicates a go to market strategy. And so far in my short experience in the startup world, the way I've noticed entrepreneurs describing target audience is usually too broad, and it doesn't convey how they're going to reach these first few users or customers - the innovators.

Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore comes to mind, where it discusses early adopters. Moore places innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards in a sequence of groups over the course of the business's lifetime.


As a designer, I think doing user profiles is not enough. We should also be doing profiles of each of these user groups. The reason is because the scenarios describing how, when, and why they'll use a product changes based each group. The purpose of profiling each of these user groups is to generate business insights from a design perspective.