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I am working on a product that will soon release a beta android app, not through google play, but just sending the apk around to a couple of people.

I am now looking for ways to gather user feedback in the best way through this process. The info I am looking for is more about the user experience (user value, things that look strange or are not understandable, expectations etc). I would like to find an easy way for users to quickly comment and propose improvements of specific features.

I can think of a number of different ways to do that:

  • Personal Feedback through email
  • Distribute survey after a couple of days
  • Integrate some kind of feedback loop in the app
  • Create a group in android forums for beta testers (in the future)

However, I am not sure that these methods are as straightforward and I am wondering if someone has some best practices and tips regarding this process.

I have read that services like google+, spotify and a number of others had a very good strategy when it comes to their beta releases and gathering user feedback but I am not sure how to find some extra info and details about these. So if anyone has some best practices or examples to share I would be glad.

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Just to be clear I have been conducting think aloud task driven user tests with 3-5 users per iteration while designing the app and will continue to do so. However I feel that there are details that can add up to the UX and value when actually testing the app in a specific context. My question is regarding best practices for this "remote testing" that the opportunity of a beta app offers. –  FoF Dec 9 '13 at 12:20
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5 Answers 5

The only thing you need to do is to collect 3-5 users and conduct a simple user test. Preferably some of the users that would actually be among your end users - but that's not that important right now.

Ask them, one by one, to carry out a certain task on your app.
Observe! Don't tell.
When they struggle: Ask why.
When they succeed: Ask why.

I can assure you that this exercise will reveal the most important UX issues in your app.

Relying on a praxis where the users are responsible for the UX-feedback is "level-two" stuff. Don't do this as your primary UX-activity...

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Thanks for the answer. I might not have been specific enough in my description but I have already been conducting regular task based think aloud user testing sessions with 3-5 users. What I am interested now is to easily identify smaller problems while people are using the app in real context. –  FoF Dec 9 '13 at 12:13
    
Ah, OK. That was unclear in the question... –  Jørn E. Angeltveit Dec 9 '13 at 14:05
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I would do two things:

The first would be to carry out an observation with around 8 users, asking them to "think aloud" throughout. This will give you a good idea of what users might think when they start using your app. If it looks like the protocol is distracting the user, tell them to only comment when there is something they don't like/understand.

The second would be to add a feedback button (possibly on every screen of the app) that allows your beta users to flag up problems or issues with individual screens.

The last thing I would do is instrument everything using analytics - your beta users are likely to be much more willing to give you their analytics. For that, I would recommend segment.io connected to MixPanel, Flurry, or GoogleAnalytics.

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thanks for the answer. The first part I have already done, the second is on its way but I was looking more for a solution like instabug.com for android to allow users give feedback more easily. The tip about segment.io and analytics is also quite valuable and I will check it out –  FoF Dec 10 '13 at 8:54
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For me it sounds like your are doing customer development rather than user treting, because you need feedback about the product value and its actual use.

Anyway the methods of custdev are similar to user research, not before concept phase like research but after beta phase.

We just ended our beta phase and did this:

. focus groups with some users

. interviews with some users

. dscout app which is a live user research investigation app

. we collected feedback at our callcenter via zendesk

. at the end we used all this qualitative feedback to prepare a quantitative survey which many beta users answered

. all involved people got compensation (voucher) for their engagement

For a direct interaction with your beta user base I recommend a facebook page. May be a WhatsApp group might be worthy too. Or a tumblr blog.

mmh no bullet points possible via smartphone...

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I think a combination of analytics(mixpanel, kiss metrics, etc) and products like Konotor (disclaimer: I build this) can work well.

This works well for a couple of reasons:

  • Messaging is a preferred way of communicating for users today (voice and text messaging are very low friction)
  • You can also reach out to specific kinds of users based on usage patterns and ask them questions on specific features, etc. (ask those using a feature how they like it, or ask those not using a feature why they haven't used it, etc)

See my related quora answer.

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I can't think of any way that's quick, simple and natural for a user to comment on something or propose improvements than sending you a short voice message.

Which is why we built Voiced - https://voicedhq.com - We have support for iOS and Android. The thing about Voiced is that it works very closely to how you'd normally take feedback from a user if they were testing your app in front of you.

It's so much easier for a user to speak their thoughts, recording a short voice message than having to send an email or fill up a form, going through the taxing process of properly wording things.

Disclaimer: I'm a founder at Tabshora, Inc. The company behind Voiced.

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