Friday, February 22, 2008

Beers and the User Experience

This week we hosted an event where we gave people free beer to bring their laptops and Join the Spank. The objective was to test the user interface and user experience of joining the spank and trying out the site.

We had 6 or 8 people, which was about a perfect number. The event was hugely useful and easily worth the $70 bar tab. There were many comments and little discoveries. Here's a sample of some of the more interesting ones:
  • Some of the Ajax (fancy technology) was prevented a couple people from joining, so a lower-tech (and faster, actually) process for Joining is coming soon.
  • Multiple people, once they logged in, ignored the orientation page and went straight to "Start a Spank." Not what I expected but oh so reasonable in retrospect.
  • After spanking or adding a link people wanted to see their Wall. Once you get used to spanking you don't look much at your own Wall (you know what's there!) but it's of primary interest initially.
All in all, lots of good improvements in the process for our upcoming launch. I shudder to think how many people have tried and failed Joining due to the first part above! Though the positive flip side is that our growth rate should increase.

It also goes to show that this method of learning gives different results from the pipeline of feedback from friends and users (though that pipeline is quite important).