( This blog post has been written by Vineet Amin, Product Manager at Zaya Learning Labs. In the part 1 of this blog, I wrote about how we hit a big wall after immediately launching our app within 90 days! )
And so we hit the wall! And a big one. We did our first user testing. We were all excited and were looking forward to it! We gave the kids a cell phone, opened the app and started monitoring their behaviour. The kids just didn’t know what to do now. They didn’t know where to click, what each icon meant, what to do next. The kids just didn’t know how to navigate through the app! That was our first roadblock. We then also tested with parents. We encountered even more complicated challenges here. Parents did not have an email ID. Which means that they couldn’t download through Play Store. I was like – “Are you serious?”. They didn’t have Facebook as well in many cases. Which means the entire social login process is worthless! Even the supposedly very simple signup process of entering the mobile no. and email ID didn’t work. So the kids didn’t know what to do, parents couldn’t now download and sign up – What could be worse? That parents would never be interested in such an app? – Lets look at that problem later.
So with this experience we went back to the drawing board. We reworked our entire process of sign up and kept it extremely simple. Just name, grade and gender. No OTP, email ID verification etc. And we then built a demo of the entire process. We also started work on controlling the entire process of what content the kid first sees. Each screen was displayed in a manner that the user is directed clearly on what to click. This was to force a behaviour of telling the user how to navigate through the app. And mostly importantly – Sounds were added.
And we went back to all users. This time it did work! Phew! You have no idea how good a feeling it is to actually work on a product and see at least that minimal acceptance in the first round on how the app functions. The users were able to sign and navigate through the app. This was a big relief. The lesson clearly for us here was that like most companies, we build an app based on what we think should be the ideal experience. More importantly – we made assumptions about user behaviour! And with kids – This assumption is a recipe for disaster! Why? When we use an app, our implicit reference points are apps like Facebook and Whatsapp. Usually kids don’t use these apps. So we should have been testing every screen from the beginning with the kids. Every navigation process including the sign up should have been tested with the users before implementing them. This was a big learning for us.
Will the parents ever use it? We once went to a school at Sion to speak to parents and get their numbers so that we could send them the app. I was personally pessimistic that any parent would share the contact details. And I was also feeling a little shy to approach them. I approached one woman and got her feedback. Showed a demo of the product. And I was swarmed! I was surrounded by parents who were all very keen on using this app. Instead of me asking for their numbers, I was being flooded with requests there to capture their numbers. The parents were so keen on a product which could at least take some time away from their kids playing subway surfer or candy crush. This surely wasn’t a hurdle. Parents wanted such a product and were looking forward to it. It was an opportunity for us to capitalise on.
In all – The most important lesson was don’t think on behalf of the user. Let the User think and act. Your job is just to observe and then act. Hope our next release receives a similar response!
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