5 Reasons Why Engaging with Your End Users Improves Your Code
Dev Consultant Maddie Schenck explores how engaging with end users can actually improve the quality of your code.
One of the biggest mistakes I see in any project is the development team failing to get outside feedback. Whether project teams wait until the very end of a project to reach our or they don’t get feedback at all, these teams are missing out on one of the best sources of information to help build a better solution. Here’s 5 reasons why engaging with your end users can improve your code.
1) You know too much
Or at least, you know too much about your solution. When you work on a project and understand how individual pages are built or the work that goes into a custom widget, you lose your ability to be objective on how easy or intuitive that particular feature is to use. Engaging with end users allows you to get honest feedback on if a feature is functioning as intended.
2) Your users know things you (and your product owner) don’t
Your end users are the subject matter experts on their jobs. They know what they need out of tools and how a process needs to work. Oftentimes there are things that can be missed when gathering requirements, especially with big, complicated applications. Engaging with your end users continuously throughout development can ensure that important functionality isn’t missed.
3) Your users can help you identify bugs (before they’re in production)
One of the greatest perks of getting user feedback during development (specifically through usability testing) is finding bugs early. Again, your users are the experts on their jobs. Something as simple as asking them to fill out a form in your application can give you valuable information on missing validation, incorrect fields, showing radio buttons when they need checkboxes, etc. – All issues that you might not discover until the app is in their hands.
4) Your users know what’s most important
In this day and age, continuous implementation is becoming more and more common. Apps aren’t just released and not updated for years anymore. Typically development teams have huge backlogs of tasks they need to implement for the next phase of the solution. Talking with your users will allow you to understand what the biggest pain points are and where to focus your development team’s effort.
5) Your users have great ideas!
Great ideas can come from anywhere, but they can especially come from the people who have experienced a problem often enough to figure out a solution. Engaging with your users can help you take advantage of their great ideas and build better solutions.
There’s a ton that any development team can learn from their users. These are just a few examples. If you want to take a look at how engaging with your users can look in a real-life example, take a look at the Microsoft Word UserVoice site. There users can suggest ideas to improve the application, and vote on other ideas that they like. The product team can respond in real-time and use this list to prioritize what they work on next.
If you can take away one thing from this article – engage with your end users. You’ll build better solutions with them than without.