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How to get immediate feedback for your app

You created an app (mobile or web app) based on what you think people will like. In your mind, everything works fantastic, and everyone will love your app and see it as "the best thing ever." However, is that entirely true? Without showing your app to your potential customers and let them test it out, how are you supposed to know what needs fixing, or what your customers want? How can you get that information from potential customers? The answer is by doing a "Food for Feedback" event.

What is Food for Feedback Event?

Derrick Duplessy (from Duplessy Foundation developed the concept of "Food for Feedback." Is a simple get together were attendees discuss your app, give feedback, and then eat food. The event is about 3 hours long and has a host (not you the app developer) that runs the agenda.

The agenda looks something like this:

  • Introduction - here, the host introduces you and himself/herself to your audience and let the attendees talk a little about themselves.
  • App Impressions - here, attendees will give their impressions based on a 10 second, 30 seconds, and 1-minute view of the first page of your app (homepage). Don't show them anything else, none of the app features and don't say anything of what the app does. These impressions need to be raw and unfiltered.
  • Serve food - guest makes a plate, go to the bathroom, begin to eat.
  • Task Test - in this part, you let attendees use your app, and you give them one task to do. You should do this one-on-one with each attendee, record video/audio, take notes, and don't say anything or help them with the task. 
  • Feedback of the task - after every attendee did the job asks them to write down their thoughts and observations. Then discuss this openly with every one, take notes, and don't say anything.
  • Demo a feature - in this part, demonstrate a feature of your app and then ask users for questions. During this time show what your app is capable of doing and answer all questions attendees have. It is the only time you should talk.
  • Conclusion - give thanks to the people for taking the time to attend the event, provide them with business cards, gather their information, and chat with them. 

My experience with "Food for Feedback" event for Porfolio

On Saturday, August 24, 2019, we did a Food for Feedback event for Porfolio at CIC Boston. The event was organized and hosted by Derrick Duplessy (from Duplessy Foundation). Seven people attended, yet it was more than enough to get the feedback we needed for Porfolio. As people started coming in, I wasn't sure what to do since everyone was silent and Derrick was busy getting people in, so I began to talk about Porfolio. Did you notice above that I mentioned three-times "don't say anything"? Talking about what Porfolio did was my first mistake, and the event hasn't even started. So my first experience with in the "Food for Feedback" event was this:

Food-for-feedback-aperitivos

SHUT THE F#$% UP!!!

I apologies for the vulgar language, however for you the app developer/creator to get the best feedback, you NEED to shut up. Don't say anything about your app, don't talk, actually don't even breath. Your job is to take notes, listen to what attendees are saying, and only then you will start noticing the many issues your app has. In the case of Porfolio, we show the homepage and got 10 seconds, 30 seconds, and 1 minutes impressions.

Porfolio Version 1 Homepage

In a nutshell, attendees mentioned that Porfolio homepage didn't stand out and we're not sure what they needed to do. Additionally, they didn't see what kind of user will benefit from the app. By just seeing the homepage, attendees didn't find it appealing, which is a massive flaw in Porfolio App "first impression." As an app developer, you may think that the user won't understand all your app features without exploring the app themselves or reading tutorials. However, the first window the app shows needs to be fantastic and good enough to spark curiosity in the user to keep them engage with your app. Porfolio failed spectacularly in that department, but we gather invaluable feedback so we can work on making it better. Next, we ask users to do a simple task, schedule one message with Porfolio. 

Task test

We set up two separate rooms with laptops and ask attendees to try to schedule one message in Porfolio in two minutes. I watch the user play around with the app while recording their session with my iPhone. I didn't say anything or help them. I was just an observer.

What I noticed was that users were entirely lost and couldn't figure where to go to do things. Users saw some of the core features of Porfolio (changing scheduling options) as an error message in the app instead of what it was supposed to be. They were all over the screen, trying to figure out where to go and were not able to accurately complete the task. What this means is that Porfolio UI needs a full remake to make the design easier to manage.

Demo of Porfolio Snippets

All attendees were asking what Porfolio Snippets did since they couldn't figure out what the word meant. That's when I was able (actually Derrick permitted me) to demo this specific feature. 

So I took my computer and show attendees how I schedule 14 days of messages to my client's social networks using the snippets. I did this schedule in less than 1 minute, which is what makes Porfolio different from other social media schedulers. One of the attendees said, "now I get it." However, this is a feature that I would like to get feedback in another "Food for Feedback" event. I get the feeling users won't be able to figure out, so I'm interested in what the future holds.

Next steps

Now that we gather all the fantastic feedback and got a few leads is time to work on Porfolio and make a better UI. The core functionality is working incredibly well since the clients we manage their social networks are saying they are getting more business. So in the least, we have this on our side. Porfolio bulk scheduling has the potential for a solid ROI for a small business. All I can say is that I'm positively looking forward to the future of Porfolio. For the next "Food for Feeback" be ready because we will get proper Latin food instead of simple appetizers as we did on our first. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook to keep track of our ventures.

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Luis is Porfolio co-founder. He is a video producer, web developer, and social media specialist. He greatly enjoys hiking, kayaking, watching anime and video games.

2 Comments

  1. […] the "Food for Feedback" event this last August 24, 2019, we gather enough feedback to decide what we need to change in Porfolio UI to make it easier for our […]

  2. My experience with Porfolio Design Jam on November 14, 2019 at 00:35

    […] Porfolio is that the UI is confusing, and not a single person understands how to use it (see Food for Feedback overview for the very first impressions of the […]

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