Apps, products, and companies evolve over time. As technologists, we seek to improve our product by constantly optimizing one thing and tweaking the next. Although radical innovation will certainly help your product, sometimes little changes, such as introducing new or improved features, can have a great impact.
Mobile app developers often use new features to recapture users’ attention or stay up-to-date with current trends and technology. Many developers viewed the new iOS7 as an opportunity to refresh their products and roll out dramatic new design changes.
Introducing something new can cause headaches for companies and users alike. But whether you’re releasing an app feature or debuting a new product line, a data-driven approach can help you evolve without losing your existing customers.
Why You Should Treat Changes and New Features With Care
While a periodic refresh can help keep your company relevant, instituting dramatic changes without listening to your customers can prove disastrous. Fashion retailer J.Crew, known for its preppy-with-a-twist look, alienated customers when its new collections strayed too far from the classics. This is a good example of a company that confused customers by deviating too far from its fundamentals.
Haphazardly releasing new features can also appear as though your company is losing focus on its core competencies. Imagine if tomorrow Facebook rolled out a Dropbox-like file-sharing system, a professional network, and a video channel. You would probably feel frustrated — especially if the new features weren’t up to Facebook’s standards.
Here is a simple guide to how you can use data to drive the introduction of new features and keep both your company and your customers focused on what you do best.
While you should always launch with care, a new feature doesn’t have to be perfect when you release it. Rolling out something in beta first allows you to gather useful data on what works and what needs improvement before you introduce it on a mass scale, and your power users enjoy being the first to try it.
At the end of the day, you should consider what’s best for your customers. Allow their feedback to drive improvements, and really listen to their pain points. If you keep customer data at the core of new features, you won’t lose them along the way.
Rameet Chawla is the founder of Fueled, a mobile design and development company based in New York and London, and the founder of the Fueled Collective, a co-working space comprised of over 35 startups in downtown Manhattan. Combining a decade of experience architecting web and mobile applications, Rameet has created apps for a wide-range of industry clients from high-end fashion brands to successful tech startups. He is passionate about building and being involved in disruptive technology ventures and can be found on Facebook and LinkedIn.