You spend time talking with end-users during the design phase of your application development project, but they end up hating the final project. If you’re working on a mobile app for the consumer market, eMarketer found 46 percent of smartphone owners use only five apps per week. Your project might fall short in comparison to their favorite applications. You face employee resistance to changing processes or switching from an old solution when you create business apps. Usability.gov reports 50 percent of programming time goes to fixing avoidable problems in software. A user-centered design style helps you understand the features end-users want, how they’re using the tool and what you need to do to deliver a successful app. End-user feedback throughout the development process, not just at the beginning, is necessary to align with user needs. These five feedback methods put you in the users’ shoes.
1. In-Application Feedback Tool
Give end-users a quick and straightforward way to provide in-app feedback. You get in-the-moment insights as the testers experiment with your app. You face a lot of friction if you expect users to email or call you every time they encounter a problem. With an in-app configuration, they type the issue in the same window and continue what they’re doing. You create a seamless user experience and capture valuable information.
2. Email Surveys
Email surveys let you check-in with your end-users in order to get their overall impressions of the app experience. You have several approaches for effective email surveys:
• Send out scheduled surveys asking the same set of questions. You track your performance and end-user satisfaction over time. Consider using a Net Promoter Score or another typical testing system to streamline your surveys and improve user engagement.
• Create a set of questions tied to each development phase. Use this survey to discover whether you’re heading in the right direction.
• Reach out to end-users and ask if you can talk about their experiences over the phone. You get to engage directly with users who are willing to share valuable insights into your application.
3. Usability Testing Services
Use a usability testing service to help you perfect your user-centered app. They evaluate your application based on several criteria, such as the learning curve, error occurrence and ease of navigation. You receive detailed feedback explaining improvement areas and suggested fixes from usability experts.
Direct user feedback is valuable, but you gain a great deal of insight from their actions. App analytics let you observe how they move through your app, what they click, whether they encountered any bugs and other metrics. You use this information to optimize the user experience, from streamlining navigation to making the entire interface more intuitive.
5. Social Listening
You don’t always get the whole story directly from your end-users. They may talk about the app and their experience through social media channels. You have an app to develop, so you can’t spend all day manually searching through Facebook and Twitter. Social listening tools do the sorting for you. You set keywords in the software and receive alerts when it detects activity.
You need user feedback from start to finish in an application development project. Use these five strategies to get the insights you need to meet end-user expectation and launch a successful app. That way, you can avoid the pile of IT projects that end in failure by paying close attention to user concerns.
Source: SANS ISC SecNewsFeed @ May 31, 2016 at 05:09PM