The utility of social media in analyzing an app

by Giuseppe Lanzi on 06/23/2017

In one of my recent articles, I shared with you an experience I had involving the publication and testing of the mobile app Who’s Next?. Since the results of that experiment were very interesting, I decided to conduct another one, which I’m presenting to you today to spark a new discussion.

The context here is creating another app for fans of Role Playing Games, but this time I wanted to make a significant change in which phase of the work I shared. The first experiment provided very interesting results, but some of the new functions to be included required a significant amount of improvement work, because they affected many application entities. This made me think, “what if I were able to get feedback before beginning the implementation?”. That’s why this time I started sharing at a much earlier point in the work: the analysis.

Remember the User Profile, User Stories and Business Model documents that Andrea talked to you about a while ago? I created a summarized version in a single document, and I turned to the same Facebook group where I had shared Who’s Next? to launch a discussion about the analysis of an application rather than about an app that was already ready. The results were really interesting.

I got confirmation that the app was perceived as useful and interesting to most of the target users. Before beginning any development work.

The discussion led to some suggestions that completed my analysis. This was really interesting, because in this phase it’s much easier to take in comments, integrate new functions, or even discard those that don’t actually turn out to be that important. It was as if I was strengthened by the people who took part in the discussion, and I achieved results that my friends who helped me and I wouldn’t even have imagined.

Completing the analysis also led to a clearer picture of the effort required to create the app, and allowed us to take stock from the beginning of all the functions to be implemented. In recent weeks I’ve started the actual development, and as we’ve proceeded I’ve changed the initial structure of the project very little, moving very quickly toward the first version.

I had multiple people available to participate in the alpha testing, all users in the target, whose goal is to have a tool that truly helps them when they play. This is a powerful motivation, the best there is.

In the end, even the summary form of the analysis document proved to be important. In fact in the past, I had already had occasion to share the extended documents with friends, but there’s no avoiding it: a concise and effective form of communicating is necessary if you want truly useful feedback.

For my part, the social approach has been confirmed as a helpful tool to try. The important thing is to identify the correct group to share with. This may actually be the most difficult part, but if we start by identifying the target users and the interests they share, the nature of social media itself should come to our aid.

If you’d like to discuss this subject further, get in touch: I’d be happy to share the analysis document with you along with some thoughts on how it was created.

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