You had an idea (hopefully tested with potential customers), you found the right talent to help you build it, and you finally have a product that your customers can use. It’s now time to validate your assumptions. Yes, they are assumptions until your users can’t live without your product.
Here are the top 3 ways that we have found to work the best for this.
Ride Alongs or Face to face
Nothing beats from riding along side your users as they use your app. In order to do this you have to have developed a working relationship with your “Beta” testers. These can be the same users you initially tested your idea with before you built your application.
One of 2 things that often get overlooked in the development of a mobile app is that your app will be used by your users while they are on the go. Despite you or your QA running around to different areas to test the app you will never have the customer experience of it until you actually go along with them.
While you are on the ride along you should not look for your users to volunteer information to you. You can learn a lot from observing how they interact with the app.
Some things you want to look for…
- Is the user able to easily navigate the app?
- This will help validate or improve/change your user experience design of the app.
- Pay close attention if they ask “How” questions about the app?
- This will help you determine how intuitive your app is. Avoid solving this issue by creating FAQs or How Tos. Few or nobody will read them. You are most likely to lose users instead. You have to try as best as possible to make the app intuitive. In the absolute case you can’t do that then provide a live person on a phone to hand hold your users.
- Look for glitches in the app. Especially pay attention to what the user was doing before the glitch happened.
- This will help you identify use cases that you didn’t think of. Your users don’t expect issues with the app. So they will not keep track of everything they do in the app. Evaluate if the issues are realistic use cases then prioritize and handle them in your app.
This is the second thing that is often overlooked in the development of a mobile app. App builders often times get so focused on features that they forget they have to validate their assumptions of those features. Even some who have the awareness to validate their assumptions often resort to customer feedback forms that expect customers to actively provide their feedback about your app.
Why should a customer do this? Your app is what should be offering value to the user, not the other way around.
A better alternative to this is then to get the customer feedback automatically from the way they use the app. There are several 3rd party tools available in the market that will help you do this.
Here are a few suggestions:
These tools can be injected in your app and provide valuable information on the user’s behavior.
Some of the valuable questions these tools can help answer are as follows:
- Where do your uses go the most in your app?
- Where do they go the least?
- Where do they spend most of their time on the app?
- Where do they drop off using the app?
- Which buttons they click on the most?
Using the information collected from this analysis you can prioritize what you work on. You can also optimize areas that need improvement. Or remove features that your users don’t use.
Most importantly you will get new ideas for features that can add value to your users.
Request and incentivize
Requesting feedback from the user can be useful in improving your app. Especially if ride alongs and face to face interaction with your users is not practical. Note, this is different from providing them a feedback form that they will fill out if they choose to raise an issue or a compliment about a feature.
Here you are actively seeking feedback from user by using the information from your user behavior analysis. You can then target specific users to send your feedback request.
- It could be users who are dropping off at a certain point in the app to find out why that is.
- It could be about the performance of the app on a certain view or page.
- It could be about your messaging, colors or specific input controls in your app.
Requesting feedback may not be enough to get your users to actually provide you one. To reiterate they are not there to add value to you app. So incentivize them to help you. Offer to enter responsive users in a raffle to win a prize.
In summary, finishing your app is the beginning of validating the features of the app with your users. We suggest 3 best ways to do this by the way of ride alongs, analysis and user feedback. Validating your assumptions is a critical step in improving your app and continuing to add value to your users.
Please leave me comments about your experiences in getting feedback from your users about your app. I’d love to hear from you.