May 26, 2014
In my previous job, I was responsible for testing landing pages for an online gambling site. Those of you that know me already know that I’m not exactly a casino regular and my online spending habits tend to be more family oriented. It took alot of effort to learn and understand the mindset of our user base. Remarkably, overseeing quality assurance at Zula has been an absolutely diametrical experience. As mentioned by Jo, our VP Product, in a previous post, our team deliberately builds our application within the application itself. All Zula communication is done through Zula.
Working within a product under development has huge benefits, but one major pitfall. Like anything else in life, time and experience makes us accustomed to quirks and areas needing improvement. We unknowingly adapt to that which could or should be different.
It is for this reason that the entire QA team takes it upon ourselves to regularly step back, put on a new hat, and see things through the eyes of a new user. With the addition of each new feature, I make a big effort to make sure that the wording, layout, and flow would make sense to our users who don’t have the luxury of having a development team on hand to explain each new feature and function.
The challenge is that there is no set process that allows me to “change hats.” Perspective is difficult to alter on command. To that end, I resort to utilizing the pride I have in the product and our shared desire to reduce confusion for the new user and make Zula as delightful an experience as possible.
I also often reflect on the first time I downloaded our product. I had so many questions, first impressions, and ideas for improvement. Naturally, some things have changed since that first test-drive. It’s hard to imagine that we once had a “triple sign-in” option or a mandatory cover photo for each new Space.
Some things, on the other hand, are yet to change- “Man! It would be really nice to be able to view the stream while composing a message. That way, I could see what is going on in the conversation and at least refer to what was written!” Fear not, faithful fans, I have your back!
Those initial feelings that I try to recreate are powerful and instrumental for our continued evolution and we can only do so much on our own. We take your feedback very seriously. So much so, that we have an open communication stream with any user that would like assistance or to provide input.
Go ahead! Open an account and come chat with me in the “Welcome Space”- I would love to try on your hat!
-Roni Gilbert, QA