How a Product Manager Can Listen to Their Users Every Day
In the ever evolving world of web and mobile products, it’s incredibly important to have a constant pulse on the sentiment, needs, and frustrations of your users. While traditional user research and usability studies are still an important part of the product development process, the web today affords real-time alternatives for getting daily insights into the minds of your users.
I spend 15 minutes every morning peering into the following five real-time channels to hear from users in their own words what they like, don’t like, want, hate, and love about our products.
Twitter has become a common place for users to express their excitement or frustration for whatever new products they are trying. I have a saved keyword search for our product that I check daily to hear what’s resonating most with members, what frustrates them, as well as what new features they’d like us to add to the product.
We also have a feedback tab prominently placed on every page of our product that enables users in one-click to leave us feedback on their experience while right in the product. This lends itself well to capturing detailed usability issues that users experience while using the product. We often hear about features that are not discoverable, are not intuitive to use, as well as additional feature enhancements that would make their primary scenarios even easier to accomplish.
Our customer support team also provides a regular report that summarizes the top issues facing users as well as the verbatim questions that they have sent in to the support team. I peruse these to understand what we can do in the product to significantly reduce the volume of support requests by solving the underlying challenges in the product itself.
App Store Reviews
For mobile products, app store reviews provide direct feedback from users on what’s working and what’s not. A portion of each mobile release’s roadmap comes directly from addressing challenges users express in the app store reviews.
Crash and Exception Reporting
Quality is critical to a user’s experience and it’s important to automate reporting crashes and exceptions so they can be diagnosed and addressed. We use Sentry for our web app and Crittercism for our mobile app to do just that. We regularly look at new issues and appropriately prioritize fixing them based on frequency of occurrence.
I hope this gives you a sense of how you can spend just a few minutes every day gaining insight into the mind’s of your users.
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May 18, 2013