Throughout the software development process, many companies often neglect to consider the importance of managing user expectations. If a consumer expects a certain product and your company releases something different, it could result in a failed project. Managing user expectations throughout the process is therefore critical to overall success.
Defining user expectations
Basically, user expectations are what the user expects from a new product or service. This could apply to both physical and digital products, but expectations will vary significantly. For example, if you are designing a new app, the user will expect various functions and a different user experience to a website.
By considering user expectations throughout your project, you ensure your product launch is met with support. There is much that goes into managing expectations, including navigation, information, interaction, and usage.
One of the biggest risks for anyone investing in a new application or piece of software is not taking them into account. When it comes to developing apps, users can be incredibly demanding.
Regardless of how little a product costs, customers still expect a fully functioning app or site to solve an issue or a market gap. As it’s so easy for consumers to delete apps and never return to websites, it’s vital to get it right from the start.
So many software developers ignore user expectations, believing that success rests only on designing a good product. With so many choices available to consumers today, this is far from the truth.
Market forces need to be the primary motivation behind managing user expectations. Let’s examine a few different kinds.
Entrenched expectations result from using websites or apps for an extended period. Formative expectations are a user’s personal experience of their interaction with sites and apps. Finally, there are also one-off expectations, which are related to a specific time or place. An understanding of each of these types is critical.
Factors towards success
There are many ways of approach which revolve around educating the user and your team. By getting to grips with it, your chances of success are immeasurably improved.
Many users don’t fully understand the effort involved in a project when it comes to software development. By giving users an insight into the process of your new project, you can help them understand the work that goes into each.
Making consumers aware of any limitations during the process can also manage expectations and set them up for a realistic end result. When users believe a project can do the impossible, this is when you are setting yourself up for potential failure.
By understanding the building process, consumers will be more willing to pay for your app or product, as they’ll understand the time taken to create the product. This will make it easier for you to charge for your product’s download or subscription and add in-app purchases in the future.
Often, the team involved in development don’t fully understand user expectations. They may be so involved in the project’s daily work that they neglect to understand the market they’re trying to serve.
Developers should continue to educate themselves about the industry and users they are working with. This will help improve communication, which can be tailored to fit the market.
Ignoring your customers’ needs is the first step to failure, as we’ve seen with so many technology companies in the past. Consumers’ needs are constantly changing, and it’s important for developers to keep abreast of changes.
Education works hand-in-hand with communication. Starting to share messages about your new offering early on in the process is key to avoiding disappointment. There are many channels available to you, such as social media, news outlets, and blog posts that you can use to excite potential customers while managing user expectations.
You don’t have to reveal a project’s benefits, but merely hinting at a few details about the process will excite consumers. This should be part of the early planning process and then increase closer to the launch of your project. By keeping an eye on what’s being said online about your project, you can tailor this content to manage areas of concerns.
One of the key reasons companies fail when launching a product is overpromising and underdelivering. It’s much better to do the reverse which means customers are likely to be blown away when your product is released.
Companies that overhype their product and then don’t deliver something as exciting as promised are looking at potential failure.
However, communication needs to be transparent throughout the process, to avoid these kinds of issues at all.
Set a clear timeline
There’s nothing worse than promising customers a new product only for the launch to be delayed continuously. Ensure your timeline is clearly laid out and realistic.
This will cause frustration to build and result in customers taking their attention and money elsewhere. If you aren’t sure of an exact release date during development, estimation is a much safer route to take.
Managing user expectations is key for a successful software development project. By educating your customers and team, you can avoid consumer disappointment and help your team’s goals.
Transparency and clear communication are essential throughout the process. By employing the methods listed above, you can set yourself up for a successful launch.