Monday, 2 October 2017

Public beta and starting the MVP process

This is part of a series about my side project Bashfully, which aims to give graduates and other new entrants to careers a seasoned professional level way of expressing themselves through the super power of story telling. Following the core principles of being discoverable, personalised and guiding in approach.

So deciding to "go live" shouldn't be a difficult decision ... in fact getting people interested enough to use an early stage project is hard enough!

This is the latest instalment talking about going through the MVP process with Bashfully - my side project that hosts online profiles.

Once we did though we got to see some real behaviour. So far this has lead to us:

  1. Cutting two stages from the on-boarding process
  2. Improving the layout and language in on-boarding
  3. Adding a page describing the profiles in Bashfully
  4. Made the "Call to actions" more prominent on the home page
  5. Prioritised some mobile layout fixes after seeing higher than expected mobile usage
Using FullStory has been invaluable here. Being able to play back and share session, to see what people actually do across all users was so helpful. With our initial batch of beta testers (thanks Shaun, Chris and Ed!) we were able to ask what was going on, then check the video. We could then look for the same behaviour in the all the visitors.

Having tweaked and tested with real life testers, we then started sharing to a wider audience. First a mail campaign to the people who had pre-registered. Next creating a profile on BetaList to get a wider range of testers. This has a month's waiting list. So, to generate more interest we have tried a limited Twitter ad campaign.

We have also got into a rhythm of smaller updates to improve the functionality and usefulness of the site. Two big features we are looking at for the next stage, based on feedback are:
  1. GitHub integration
  2. Tailoring profiles and sharing specific versions of them
The first one really fits in with our vision to tell a story and link experiences in one place. With Open Source Software, developer and designers experience is a lot more transparent. We can tap into that, and use authentication from GitHub so we aren't adding to the number of passwords people have to remember!

The second was a requested feature before we even launched the beta. It makes sense, and is one of LinkedIn's weaknesses. We are really giving people the control of their story and how they share it. The ability to remove experiences that aren't as relevant and highlight those that are.

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