Monitoring data and user feedback for mobile apps

Stuart Hall
by Stuart Hall
April 19, 2016

Apple recently launched an awesome update to their developer page. The section I enjoyed most was Engaging Users with App Updates about monitoring data and user feedback.

Apple is often criticized for not supporting indie developers. But, I believe the advice and examples they have shared are exactly what developers need. The big success stories were once small too.

The three main sections of Apple’s article are:

  • Planning a Roadmap
  • Monitoring Data and User Feedback
  • Announcing Updates

 

I’ve already written in the past about my frustration with lame release notes.

I believe the first two sections are the keys to a successful app.

Monitoring data and user feedback

In this section, Apple shares a great case study on Slack. I use Slack many hours every day. It’s an amazing tool that continues to get better and better.

Brady Archambo, Senior Engineering Manager at Slack. “Our team uses Slack as intensely as any other team in the world possibly could, so we’re often finding the pain points first.”

Dogfooding is definitely an amazing way to go. Especially when you have a large team.

But how about for the rest of us that don’t have a massive team? Or those of us who’s product isn’t built to serve ourselves.

We need to source our own data and user feedback.

For app developers, there are two amazing sources of this information. Support and app reviews.

Conversations through support can open up so many great suggestions and uncover bugs.

But always be looking for pain points, not solutions. Blindly implementing every request and solution suggested by users will lead to feature creep and bloat.

If you can discover those common pain points and find the best solution for your product, you can go a long way to retaining those users.

App reviews are just as powerful. They are unprompted feedback that contains amazing insights.

You can start the same conversations as support on Google Play by replying. On iOS we are stuck with one-way conversations. Unless you track the author down on social media.

Through the content of these reviews, we can find so much valuable data and user feedback.

We can dig into the words the reviews contain to find common trends and issues.

Monitoring data and user feedback

 

Or we can look into common topics to see what users are talking about.

Monitoring data and user feedback

 

All this data and user feedback allows us to build features that will retain and attract new users.

Planning a roadmap

Apple quotes Smule, one of my favourite app developers, in this section.

“How do you get users to stay around longer?” asks Jeannie Yang, Chief Product and Design Officer at Smule. “You build a better product. Build better features. Build more reasons for them to come back.”

Retention is so important to app developers. There are so many apps competing for attention we can’t afford to let users slip away.

Building a better product with features that keep users coming back involves building the right things. Building the right things comes back to understanding what users want.

Our roadmap is set by listening to our users. We listen to their pain points and then try to solve them in the best way we can.

We want our customers to stick around for the long term.

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I love what Apple have started with their improved developer center. I hope they continue what they started.

But most of all I hope developers start listening.

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