mobile app

How and When to Get the Most Valuable Feedback on Your Mobile App Prototype

You can come up with a great idea for a mobile app and spend time and money to build it, but not know if it really is a great idea until you launch it to the public, right? Wrong! To build a really great app, you need to follow a process to not only make sure your app is a great idea, but also that your great idea is being effectively executed.

To build a successful app, you need to get feedback to make sure you are selecting the right features, functions and flow. You don’t want to get that feedback on your finished app, you want to get it on your prototype, when you can effectively and efficiently put that commentary to good use.

Based on my experience in creating more than 200 successful mobile apps, I have come with what I believe to be an ideal feedback strategy that anyone can follow:

Use an online tool for mobile app prototyping

You should create your basic app design (including wireframes and visual designs) with online tools such as Balsamiq, Sketch or InvisionApp. These tools allow you to easily test the design of the app by sharing it with others. You and your testers can write feedback and comments for each screen, which can be easily understood and integrated by your app designer.

Some of the tools also allow you to launch the design on a smartphone and click through it as an app. Non-digital, paper-based wireframes and design can’t be easily shared or efficiently critiqued. You want to create easily shareable designs, both high-fidelity and low-fidelity, that you can capture feedback on at both stages of the design process.

Create a user research group

It is important to create a group of users that will test your mobile app prototype and provide detailed feedback. You can build your research group from a variety of sources:

  1. Friends/family: Good for general perceptions and overall impressions that you won’t have to pay for; just don’t expect highly professional or technically-oriented feedback unless they have industry training
  2. Expert UI/UX designers: Can be hired for a few hours to go through your design and provide extremely valuable feedback. It may cost you, but you will recover that money in the long-term, as expert designers will often catch critically important things that you may miss
  3. Online research services: Offer tools, such as user testing, with which you can submit your mobile app prototype with a set of questions and, in within about a day, get user feedback and suggestions that you can use to improve your product

Create an effective set of questions

When you are seeking feedback, do not rely on your test group to come up with questions on their own. It is very important to create a list of questions for your testers so that they can get a better sense of the specific type of feedback you are looking for. Here are some sample questions:

  1. Is the navigation menu of the app attractive and easy to understand? How could the navigation menu be improved?
  2. Is the app signup process easy to understand? Does it ask for too much data? Does the signup process perform sufficiently fast?
  3. Are the initial two to three screens of the app clear and attractive? Do the initial two to three screens effectively communicate the app’s purpose and value?
  4. Is the app’s text attractive and easy to read? Would you recommend a different typeface or font size?
  5. Do you think the app’s color scheme is attractive and appropriate for the app? What, if any, color changes would you recommend?

Encourage testers to think outside the box

Often, testers will merely comment on what you put in front of them. However, if you give them the freedom to suggest radical changes, you may wind up receiving extraordinary ideas that will make your app even better than you imagined. Make sure all of your testers feel free to give you their best critical thinking about the quality and value of your app.

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Collect all feedback and then reiterate your prototype

Conducting testing and collecting feedback has no value if you don’t purposefully review and then incorporate the ideas you get back into your app. In fact, you should plan for your feedback to be an iterative process in which you implement the best ideas of a review, then submit your app back to your research group to provide additional feedback.

The second review may not require as much time as the first review, but this followthrough is critically important. Often, reviewers will provide their most valuable advice on the second review. For that reason, you should make sure you go to the same group of testers for every iteration, so that they can confirm and add to their initial feedback.

Remember: Feedback is absolutely necessary for any app to succeed. It is better to get it during the design process, when it’s much easier to incorporate, rather than having to make changes during or after the development process. We may consider our idea to be the best in the world, however, the proof of that will be determined by what users think of it.

Following a well-crafted process, you can greatly increase an app’s chances of being well-accepted by those who will actually use it: your customers.

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