The Idea Dude


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Listen to the user

Too often in the software industry, we create elaborate product plans thinking we know what the user wants. Usually we partially right but often we don't really know what is the pain point (and hence the purchase decision) until the software is really in the hands of the user.

A significant upgrade to our Signature app has just been made available in the AppStore. The biggest feature? Letting users use a photo taken from their iPhone camera or pick one from their photo album. Of all the support emails we received, most people had no clue how to post an image to Flickr or some image host and get the URL from that picture. As technology geeks we thought it was trivial. Obviously we were wrong. Most people were probably put off after struggling to add their profile image from an Internet hosted image.

Our lesson here. We got the first version out as fast as we could without sacrificing quality and then we listened. Version 2.0 is simply stuff people wanted and struggled with when customizing their signature. Every support email got a personal reply. We felt their pain. And in the end, we produced an even better product that we're pretty stoked about.

In addition to better image support, we threw in a couple of fonts, allowed users to chose the style (normal, bold, italic) and even the font size. People want reasonable defaults so they can see and use something quickly. But once hook, they want to make it their.

If you're interested, more about the Signature app can be found at Ideasunplugged on our Signature application page.

One of the funniest reviews we had in the store was someone complaining that we were fabricating the reviews by getting friends and family to comment. It's a common practice amongst the developer community but one we don't do. We'd rather let our raving fans do the shouting. Every comment and review has been submitted by users without our input or request. The fact that someone thought the reviews were too good to be true even though they really were is just way cool.


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