Creating Effective Web Applications


Pretend to be a new user time after time

01 06 2008, Michiel van Vlaardingen

As PicturePush and our other services mature, we receive bug reports. This is a good thing, as it helps to improve the services.  However, what we found out is that even with a lot of users, you cannot rely on your users to report bugs.  Especially in the beginning, but even now, some bugs have been really serious and must have been seen by hundreds of people over the course of weeks, sometimes even months.   Now you would say, how can this happen?  You use your own services, right?  Yes, we do. However most of the serious bugs were related to new users,  bugs or unclearity in signing up, cases without data, etc.   So they only occurred to people new to the service, exactly those without a good reason to report bugs.   

After we found this out, we introduced the practice to very regularly do the whole process of signing up,  doing the first steps and canceling ourselves. And it really helped to improve things, sign ups have improved and people have responded more positively to the service.  Even if it are not bugs,  every time we find something unexpected that was not as smooth as it could be.  Therefore my advice to you: don't just eat your own dog food, go out and buy it every week as well.

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