UpHabit AppMar 28, 2018

Our Beta's Most Valuable Learnings

Woman on Laptop Writing in Notepad

What a ride!

Wow, it's hard to believe that it's been just over three weeks since we originally released our beta. We've had a fantastic experience with our super engaged users, not so much however with our actual product (oops, we're sorry about that)! We stopped the beta rollout after releasing to just over 10% of our users.

These initial users, as well as those of you who didn't get it yet but wanted to share your thoughts, helped us to understand what we want to bring to the table and have inspired us to pause our beta rollout (for now!) while we work on adding more features and performance updates.

We've learned so much from this initial beta that we'd like to share. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, here's a quick look at what we believe to be the most important things we've learned during our first run through beta.

No matter how many times we test, we won't catch everything 🐛

From the get-go, our team understood that there would be issues that crop up once beta launched that we didn't foresee. We prepared ourselves for the inevitable problems that would arise. Lo-and-behold, users reported two significant issues: a problem when they entered international phone numbers as well as general performance issues with the app.

Once these issues were reported, we were able to resolve the international phone number issue almost immediately, but the performance issues required a lot more work.

Sooner isn't always better 🏃

Tunnel vision is an all-too-real scenario when you're deep into the development of a product. We had committed ourselves to a particular set of deliverables on a certain date, which resulted in our heads down working hard on getting those features ready to go and not waiting to include the other features we already had in development (but not ready for the beta).

We knew things like Local Address Book integration, multiple accounts, and manual create/edit/delete are important and in hindsight, we should have added them to the beta. We made a mistake. It was refreshing to hear from our initial beta users how badly they wanted to do these things like sync with their address book! We're also infinitely grateful to our users for all of their new suggestions because these suggestions are helping us create a list of features we want to implement in the future!

Proper planning is more valuable than ever 📝

This one should be obvious, but we were amazed at the amount of feedback that we received right off the bat!

Between different types of devices, versions of iOS, and many more variables we have learned that it takes time and some real, robust planning to roll out! There were also some things that didn't get entirely set up before beta launch: who was responding to which emails, who was manning the support chat on which day, and where does all of this feedback go?

Needless to say a dry run for full launch, and in this case, our upcoming new beta release was necessary for us to prepare ourselves!

Communication is key 💬🔑

Now, I realize this sounds ironic considering UpHabit is a communication-enabling app. We love to talk to our users. They're our lifeblood and the whole reason that we work so hard to create and improve our app. Nevertheless, it was invigorating for the entire team (from our developers to our designers) to speak with our users, instead of only one representative communicating with our audience.

This simple act of communication put more fire into our bellies and has propelled us even further to create continuously better iterations of UpHabit. This feedback was ultimately what sparked the decision to pause and revamp our beta offerings.

We want to be exceedingly proud of the product that we hand to our users, and if it weren't for them, we wouldn't have completely understood how to get there.

The best part about all of this?

We're still learning. One of our mantras is "Make New Mistakes" and what that means is that part of our culture is the encouragement and acceptance (even celebration!) of making mistakes and learning from them, so we don't repeat them. Part of this includes being honest and sincerely apologizing to anyone that we've affected by our mistakes. Call us crazy, but we think it's incredibly essential to our success. If it weren't for our incredible users, the Habiteers, we wouldn't have known about our mistakes as fast as we did and stopped the beta early!

Our users are the best in the world, and we're excited to keep iterating on the things they need to make UpHabit the best it can be!

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