Over at the Creating Passionate Users blog (which has more useful information on it than any other blog I can think of), there’s an excellent post called If your software was on a date which lays some ground rules for your applications:
How would your software (or product, service, book, cause, etc.) behave on a date? Perhaps the best model for software developers is the singles scene, so let’s see how this time-tested dating advice for men might be applied to software:
The article goes on to give some excellent advice, including “Be polite, be helpful”, and “Be forgiving”.
It’s an excellent article overall, but I couldn’t help but think there was one thing missing: “Be easy to get to know”. Offer a free trial. Show me a flash or Quicktime demo of what you can do (screenshots are a copout - how many people started using Rails because of the 15 minute video? I did.), and offer a forum for sharing information with other users, and with the software’s developers. 37Signals gets this last point very well, their product blogs are very useful.