Soft launch · Pilot

Tips and suggestions for soft launch

Shipeng Fu Founder at Knowledgette

June 3rd, 2014

Hi there,

We are finishing up the pilot site for our venture. Our plan is to have a soft launch, i.e. invite friends and colleagues to test the functionality of our pilot site first. So we could collect feedback and data to make further improvements. The pilot is currently private, and we will send out invitations to about 20 people. We hope to collect 1) suggestions of the site design such as layout, functionality, etc, 2) activities of those 20 people on the pilot for us to analyze how users interact with our contents.

We would appreciate if you could share your suggestions, tips and experience on this type of soft launch.

Thanks!

-Shipeng

EM

June 4th, 2014

Hi Shipeng -- there's a whole body of expertise around this but here are some recommendations:

a) friends (unless they are in the right industry or are design/UX experts) are often not that great when it comes to testing

b) use proper UX processes to test:
- give the user a specific tasks (or sequence of tasks)
- record them (or better still, watch them)
- document their feedback rigorously
- use tools where appropriate (Silverback, Usertesting.com)
- if it's a very structured process, try do some exit interviews afterwards to complement the in-task feedback from the user

c) prospective early customers can be great early testers as long as the product is in pretty good shape

d) there are a lot of different types of tests:
- design-specific ones (for measuring balance, contrast, legibility, responsiveness across devices)
- usability (does the user know what to do and how to do it)
- performance 

Some useful resources:
http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/10/20/comprehensive-review-usability-user-experience-testing-tools/
http://www.usefulusability.com/24-usability-testing-tools/
http://blog.usabilla.com/the-top-5-user-testing-methods-of-ux-professionals/

Shipeng Fu Founder at Knowledgette

June 5th, 2014

Wow! Eoin! That's very thoughtful and detailed response. It is exactly what I want. Highly appreciated and will follow your suggestions. Thanks a lot!

Sebastian Juarez CTO & co-founder

February 19th, 2015

Hi Shipen,

what I've seen is that less than half the people one invites to try an MVP will not do it ,or do it just because they don´t want to let you down, my advice is to broaden the amount of "testers" as much as you can, as the more advise you get, the more accurate advises you will have.

All the best with your venture!
Sebastian