Making a Side Project, Part 12: Testing
Last night I setup the AWS services that I need to deploy Deaton.
I decided to keep things simple since I only have a couple of days until the end of the hackathon. I setup an EC2 instance (via Forge) and an RDS MySQL server. Made sure everything was in the same VPC so they could talk to each other. Connected my Gitlab repo to the site, and crossed my fingers.
Deaton is now live, and soft launched. Under normal circumstance no one would know, and no one would care, but building in the open means that a few people have already signed up and started tracking their projects. 🎉 🎉 🎉
Now that the MUP is complete the next step is normally to get some early adopters into the application to try it out. I prefer this to be people I know that I can talk to. To get real frank and honest feedback.
I also prefer that people don’t know too much about the app. I want them to be like my target user coming to the website not knowing anything before hand. I want the website to be able to tell them what it is and what it does. If they are not able to figure that out from the website then how would other users. Might be a little big difficult here since most people I know have been following my posts and know what I’m doing already!
If you don’t know anyone what would be a good fit, then it is time to start tapping the email list that you’ve hopefully been growing.
Look over the list at the domains of the email addresses find to someone that works somewhere that might be client, based on what the company does.
Still no obvious targets to email, time to pick 10–20 users as random from the list, that’s right don’t email everyone yet. For this 10–20 you want to send a personal email, offer to do a call if they prefer to be walked thru the product.
After you send the emails, keep a close eye on the web server analytics, see when and how people are visiting the website, track what they are doing, before they even get back to you. Keep an eye on what they are doing, in the product, are they signing up and using it? You can even use specialty apps like Tamboo to record user visits to your website, to see exactly what they did as they explored. See where they stopped, or hopefully discover why.
When and if they get back to you, most won’t, ask questions but mostly listen to their experience. Let them tell you what they liked, what they didn’t. Hear their thoughts on the current state of the product, what needs to be changed or added. Collect and aggregate the feedback. No one persons opinions should blindly be followed, but her the same thing often enough and you probably know what you need to do.
Once you’ve got feedback from the first set of emails, you can mail the full list with a similarly crafted email. Hopefully you’ve already addressed any glaring issues and can win over some early fans.
That’s all for now, keep talking to users, getting feedback and making any necessary adjustments before the official launch!