The beta testing period is coming to an end

For a bit over a month now, we’ve had some friendly external folks helping out with testing our site and giving us valuable feedback. This is for me, unfortunately, something that I haven’t done a lot professionally prior to this project. I can definitely recommend anyone to get an outsider’s input on what you’re creating.

Normally after a certain amount of time spent on a project, you become too involved in the product. It turns out to be impossible to stay as objective as you wish you could. And besides that, it’s as if you slowly but surely walk away from watching the big picture and instead you’re getting caught up by all the tiny details. The most meaningless little button can suddenly become your brain wrinkler for an entire evening. So it becomes a bottle neck, and eventually (after too much time spent), you realize that you have to move on. Because you lost momentum. Again.

Will people even notice the time you’ve spent? In most cases not, I guess. But as the swedish saying “djävulen ligger i detaljerna”. (I couldn’t give that a decent translation, however…) all those tiny details eventually ends up enhancing the overall impression of the product. The tricky part is definitely to find a good balance in a project with limited time and resources. You want perfection, but you can’t have that, so what features are the most important etc.?

Therefore comments from an outsider, a person with a pair of “fresh eyes”, is invaluable. They give you some sort of reality check. What do people actually pay attention to, the first, the second or the tenth time they’re visiting your site? The things that I pay attention to the 500th time (which probably isn’t a bad estimate on my amount of visits), can alter quite a lot from the first timer.

So when you step back and zoom out a bit, you might realize that the core idea/concept isn’t communicated as clear anymore and that you might need to redo pieces or even start over completely.

It’s hard though, “killing your darlings”. The sooner the better is probably the best advice here. It stings more to redo an entire section of a (nearly finished) full functioning website and go from scratch than it is to throw away a rough sketch. So again, get input early on. It’ll make production time much shorter.

Alright, before I’m done; a BIG thanks to all the people that have helped us with insights, ideas, feedback etc. Extremely kind of you to give some of your time in order to make this a better product, your services are very much appreciated.