Feedback Noise

You had an idea and you built an app. Now comes the scary part.

You showed the app to a bunch of people and asked what they thought. Here’s what i’m 100% sure happened. Invariably every one of them had something to say - wanted something about the app changed - a color, an icon, a navigation issue, and most probably an extra feature your app didn’t have. Not one - NOT A SINGLE ONE - must have told you your app looked fine as it were. And almost all the people who gave you some or other feedback must have used your app for no more than 5 minutes … the app that you spent months crafting.

Why do people do that? What’s happening here?

Here’s what i presume is happening. When asked for their opinion, people have three choices ...

  1. Say something.

  2. Say nothing - which might indicate “I don’t care”.

  3. Saying the app is fine as it were - which might indicate “I didn’t bother spending enough time on the app”.

Most people are generally nice. They don’t want to offend you. This rules out choices 2 and 3 above. So invariably they ‘say something’ ... without actually meaning it. So there’s a lot of feedback noise. This creates a problem for you. How do you filter this noise?

Here are some guidelines i follow ...

  1. Pay heed only to users who have used your app 3 or more times over a week.

  2. Consider a new feature request only when 3 or more people have ‘independently’ requested it.

  3. Sit along with at least 6 friends (one or two at a time) and just watch them use your app for the first time. Don’t guide them. Just watch them silently. This exercise will throw up more genuine feedback than you would imagine.

  4. Value unsolicited feedback. These users took the trouble to send you feedback without you asking for it. It means something.

  5. Finally, remember this … Unknowingly you have developed a lot of intuition as you were building your app. When somebody gives you a genuine piece of advice - it immediately ‘strikes’ you. YOU KNOW this because it hits you at the same frequency of your thoughts/intuitions (i couldn’t find better words to describe this phenomenon).

So to wrap it up, don’t let the initial feedback from users put you down. Most of this feedback is just noise. Trust your intuition and keep doing what you do.

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