Almost exactly 1 year ago, I attended MCE conference in Poland, and I've seen a talk by Steli Efti called
If You Don't Understand Your User/Customer You're Fu**ed.
It was around that time that I was finishing Timelines, and it made a big impression on me. Going forward, I decided to focus much more on what users are saying - not only listening to them but actually acting on it.
Since the release of Timelines in August, every subsequent update was heavily influenced by users' feedback. And I still follow this mantra today, with upcoming version 1.4 and beyond.
I keep track of users feedback and requests in GitHub Issues. Users contact me via email, we have some back and forth, and I write it down. It's been working well for me. But the breakthrough really came to me a few months ago in Chiang Mai, where I got a brilliant advice from two wonderful people - Matt and Guillemette.
Both former Y Combinator alumni, they really underscored to me the importance of collecting feedback from people in person. And they actually tried it on me - I sat down with Guillemette and we talked about their website. I thought this way of doing it was pretty good. But it wasn't until I tried it myself with Timelines that I realized the true potential of it.
The way it works is that you sit down with a volunteer (ideally someone from your target audience), and let them use your product. You watch them use it and you listen. When they struggle with something, you briefly discuss with them why that is. It's also good to ask some questions in the end, such as:
What is your main goal with tracking time? Does Timelines meet your expectations? Is there any general feedback that you'd want to share?
Recently, I tried it with 3 people here from KoHub (the coworking on Ko Lanta where I worked for the past 2 months), and it was amazing. I can't express enough how much value I got from even just these three 15-30 minutes sessions. It proved to me some of the hunches that I had, helped uncover some bugs, and generally provided invaluable pointers what to really focus on improving in the next version(s). I plan to do much more of these in the near future, and take the findings from them as kind of a 'holy grail' of users' feedback - because that's what it really is.
There's nothing more motivating to fix a problem with your product/app than watching someone struggle with it with your own eyes.
This is Day 10 of the 14-day blogging challenge.