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A lean way to involve users in development

We went to a workshop organized by UXHK where different companies shared their app/website development processes. To our surprise, getting feedback from users (or simply talking to users directly) is either missing or is outsourced to another team. Designers and engineers don’t have a chance to interact with the users directly, although they are the ones who spend 3 - 6 months of their time building something for the users.

As mentioned by the successful entrepreneur Steve Blank, “no business plan survives first contact with a customer”. We understand that finding users for testing can be expensive and time consuming, so here are some quick and lean methods to get user feedback:

Typical Methods Lean Methods
Use a prototype to see whether users like your app/site Use existing apps that you can download from the App Store to simulate the experience.
Show a workable app to users and get their feedback Use prototyping tools or HTML to approximate the actual app
After the app is launched conduct focus groups to get user feedback Use analytics to get the feedback and study user behavior

For example, in the Abbott Kindergarten Interview app, we used Facetime to simulate the experience of Kindergarten interviews and HTML to build a prototype app. Finally, we used Google analytics to study the user behavior.

Author | Ken Law

CEO of MotherApp. He likes to read, travel and play board games with his friends.