stop coding and test what you’re building on real users!
A few months ago I started working on a project I wanted to build for a while. At first I had a simple concept in my head on how I wanted my app to work; so, I went ahead and dove into coding straight away. This probably was not the best way to start a project. In a few days I built the core functionality of the app. But then I thought: “Wouldn’t it be cool if I could build this feature as well? And that feature , oh and this and that….” Being like a child in a candy store I started building all these features and with every feature I would come up with another one and I would build that too and so on and so forth . At one point I realized that I am digging myself into a very deep hole, but it was too late and I was already neck deep in it. I give my self two days to tie loose ends and I promised myself I would release my app to beta testers.
I was ashamed of the product I was sending for testing. It was clunky, ugly and not user friendly. I spent so much time on building all the features but did not spend time on thinking about how users will find these features or how they will interact with them! What is the point for a great app if none knows how to use it?! Gah! But on Sunday evening I sent email to a few of my friends and asked them to test drive my app. I received a lot of good feedback. My trello board is very full with cards for bugs, refactoring and features.
Basically I need to completely redesign the user experience and the interface design.
Lesson learned - do not leave UX for the last minute. With every feature added, stop for a moment and think about how user will interact with it. Is it obvious to user, did you test it ?
I believe UI goes hand in hand with UX, and they are no the same things! So, as I neglected UX , I also neglected UI… Which led to a very ugly, in my view, app. Coding is pretty straight forward, it either works or doesn’t. Granted you can write some pretty bad code but at least that is pretty obvious. UI on the other hand is a very subjective area. Some color combinations and fonts are horrendous, but how do you make your app not too bootstrapy, not too boring. Do you round corners or do you go with the trend of flat ui… or better what is the current trend?!
Another lesson: if you want to be a full stack developer, do not neglect UX and UI trends. Subscribe to updates ….
Esthetics and usability is not a luxury, it is a core part of any app that is user facing. And it should never be neglected.
Now that I am thinking about how the app should look and function, I am not coding at all. Paper, pencil and a real user. That is my approach until I flash out the ideas. Then back to coding -> testing -> coding -> testing ……