Week 2: How user feedback transforms into updates.
As testers get ready to try our “financial statements viewer/downloader” tomorrow, we – uuptick’s founders- look back on this week’s work as well as the feedback we collected.
Having an extremely flat structure allows us to reduce the time between customer testing and new updates to less than a week, as little as 24 hours for minor improvements and fixing bugs.
Today we will talk a little about what happens behind the curtain between the moment a tester responds to a survey question, and the moment a new version of the web app appears.
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Step 1: Gathering the data
As mentioned in last week’s blog post, we use Survicate to gather customer feedback. It isn’t ideal since the survey disappears after a user has engaged with the form (meaning they can’t leave the site and come back), but we are still considering alternatives which don’t require the tester to leave the platform to complete the survey.
Nonetheless it gets the job done. We will then format the data in an excel spreadsheet with all the answers we have collected which will be sorted by feature and by question.
By reading the responses, I get a feel for the main themes, concerns and desires that our testers have communicated. I look out for key words which might pop up systematically.
I will write a list of these down while already thinking about the amount of time it would take to satisfy each of these expectations.
If part of the feedback concerns bugs, or obvious elements which we have forgotten to implement, I will forward the list of fixes and updates straight to Robert -who is in charge of development-, and the process would skip to step 5.
If you are interested in taking part of the testing process, fill out this form to apply for our next round of testing. We will get back to you in due time.
Step 2: Follow up calls
It’s funny to say but phone calls are somewhat becoming a lost art form. Yet despite the ascension of social media and text messaging, all our contact with testers comes through two archaic technologies: email and phone.
And boy are these phone calls important.
A few volunteer testers have spent up to an hour each discussing with me the tools they have tested over the phone. What I love about these calls is that you can access higher levels of understanding about what testers want and how they would have created the feature.
I try and guide the discussion around the list of elements I created in the previous step. I will take notes throughout the call. After the call, I will consolidate these notes with the feedback we received from the in-app surveys.
Step 3: Making decisions
This step is crucial. Robert and I will sit down and discuss the information we have collected. We will acknowledge areas where we clearly misfired and consider how we can implement multiple suggestions for improvement into a killer feature.
We will first focus on elements which we believe can be implemented quickly. It is often the small changes which improve the user experience. For example, we previously displayed small snippets of recently viewed companies on our dashboard.
While the idea was well received, the feedback uncovered several requests:
- Some people wanted more information displayed
- Others were satisfied with the amount of information but wanted the choice to display different elements
- Some wanted the dashboard to show less information.
- Everybody wanted a color code (green and red) to see whether the stock had gone up or down.
- Some people wanted to be able to “pin” their favorite stocks.
- Others wanted to have a watch list of their favorite stocks.
While some of the information is contradictory, it sets a perfect framework for improving the tool. We do still need to make decisions and pick a direction.
You don’t need to understand our testers requests to comprehend how we process the information.
We decided that while letting users chose which information they want displayed is a great idea, it would take slightly longer than the rest of the suggested improvements, so we placed this feedback at the end of the list, at least for now.
We must prioritize by ease of implementation since we are still working on features which are set to release in upcoming weeks.
We decided that a “watchlist” section on top of a “recent company” view would be desirable. So, we decided to create the feature. We learned from the feedback that giving users the opportunity to save companies to the watchlist easily is paramount, which is why we decided to leverage a few testers idea of “pinning” their favorite companies.
At different places throughout the website, a user should be able do so by clicking/unclicking a star next to the company’s name. This would automatically add a company to the watchlist.
We chose to implement the color code, since it was requested quasi- unanimously.
Finally, we decided that we didn’t want to show less information but that users should have a cleaner overview of his watchlist. The idea is to get a quick snapshot of which stocks have gone up or down. At a first glance, the user should see a list of tickers, and know whether the price went up or down for the day.
To not loose the information which was desirable to a lot of the users, a click on the name should expand a small list of information. In the future, this information will be modifiable to best suit the users’ desires.
You can see a screenshot of the new watchlist feature below.
Step 4: Producing a document with recommendations
Once we have decided all of this, I will create a document with all the work we need do to implement all our new updates.
I will date the document so we can compare the recommendations during future rounds of testing. I organize the document by listing every update in the order they should be implemented, to bring new updates as quickly as possible.
I will then send the document to Robert for him to put his magic to work. I will include a list of features which have been suggested but which would require lots of work, for us to come back to them in the future.
Step 5: Implementing new features
In the upcoming weeks Robert will publish a more tech-oriented blog post detailing his job which is at the center of our platform. In the meantime, here is a preview of the new watchlist feature which resulted from the work above.
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