Non-Stop User Testing and Continuous Improvement

When we set out to build Clearplan we had a good idea of what kind of user experience and functionality we would build.

One the the biggest mistakes we made early on was not listening to our customers. Or, really, we didn’t reach out to our customers and users early and often enough.

Pradeep and I had this idea of how the software should be used. Our mistake was developing the software the way WE thought it should be used… not the way our users wanted it.

Early on we built some features that we valued very highly. In our minds, this was a total breakthrough.

”This is going to revolutionize the industry!”


We finished writing that feature set—presented it—and was told instantly:

”We will never use this. It’s not the way our company—or the industry works.”

That decision cost us 3 weeks of development time and effort. The code we had slaved over was eventually thrown away.

Huge bummer.

The big takeaway for us:

What users care about is that your software does what they need. Not, what YOU think they need.

After that mistake, we started talking with Clearplan users every week.

What do you like? What do you hate? What do you wish Clear had?

User testing and talking to users is more important than talking with internal stakeholders. Non-stop testing and continuous improvement is the only way to build great—really great software.

As of today, we have multiple pushes of new code to production. In other words, we get new features into the platform and let our users test and validate the code.

If something is wrong, we know instantly. This speed in releasing production code helps us correct and iterate on our direction.

Sometimes the direction changes. Often times, the user will do something completely unexpected. They might use the software in a method that we did not ever think about. Wow.

When this happens, the light bulb goes off, and we devise new and better user flows that build on their actions and input.

At the end of the day, listen to your customers. Your application will be better.