Over a week ago, we had a minimum viable product. You could share articles, create discussions, and invite friends into these discussions. You could use your Facebook identity. Users stumbled through the site not sure what to do. No one invited his friends into a conversation. There were some issues with Facebook connect and not all users were able to properly login. Some people didn’t notice the comment link. Even more didn’t notice the link for replying to comments. I had put all my efforts into creating the features and no thought into the usability.

We tried to test virality but got caught on usability. In order for a website to be viral, it has to be very simple to use. It should flow from one step to the next and users should know what to do. This is why we have been focusing on usability this past week. We polished the interface and prompt users to perform the next step. Prior to this usability overhaul, some users weren’t even able to create a discussion, post a comment, or invite friends–even when asked to.

This week we will actually be able to test virality. When a user doesn’t invite friends to join a conversation, we will be more certain that it’s because he doesn’t care to, not because he doesn’t know how; or even because he doesn’t know about the feature.

-Venkat

Advertisements