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Once known as a fount of prosperity, wealth and knowledge around the world, India is once again rising and shining. Opportunities today abound in the country for anyone enterprising enough to identify and capitalise on them. This renaissance has largely been helmed by the digital revolution, which is using smartphones and internet connectivity to enable service consumption for the Indian consumer. The entry of players such as Reliance Jio has only jump-shifted the data adoption rates, as nearly 100 million new users – largely belonging to non-metro geographies – are expected to leapfrog the 3G wave and directly become a part of the 4G-enabled India. This India belongs to a thousand different cultures, speaks hundreds of different languages, and holds countless dreams and ambitions in its heart. So how does one design a product to meet the requirements of each and every one of these newly digitally-empowered consumers? Two simple words suffice to answer these questions – user feedback.
User feedback can add a lot of value to the product design, especially in an increasingly competitive market like India. The country’s consumers are no longer mere spectators, but are actively playing a part in defining the services they choose to consume. Every click on a product, every download, every uninstall – all this is but a part of a larger message that they are sending across to service providers. They evaluate any product they use on its relevance and how it best solves their problems, not the underlying tech design; it wouldn’t matter to users if a product is technically superior to its competitors if it cannot solve users’ problems in a better manner. This is what makes user feedback such a critical aspect of product design.
Gauging optimum user feedback often requires setting up of active listening mechanisms, and any listening mechanism typically includes what is commonly known on the Internet as clickstream analysis. Achievable through either the internal data collection framework, an external tool such as Google’s Firebase, or a hybrid approach integrating the two, clickstream analysis measures how users actually use the product. This offers a better understanding of the points of friction for the product and its usage flow, which in turn aids in refining design and optimising the end-user product and helps in making it more relevant to the consumer.
Any listening mechanism for user feedback, however, is incomplete without direct involvement of the user, which is where user experience measurement steps into the picture. Involving segmentation of users using math, user experience measurement analyses UX for each segment to verify if user requirements have been understood correctly. Knowing user segments and needs helps in contextualising what might be considered an ‘a-ha!’ point, which further helps in the identification of user-delight points as well as probable pain points. This understanding assists in the setup of smart, algorithmically-driven pop-ups within the app itself, which can then be used to gain a more astute insight into the product’s overall user experience quotient.
But while leveraging technology to gauge user reaction is all well and good, initiating real conversations can make a world of difference to the product in question, especially during the testing phase. Beta user programmes and formulation of Concept Beta and Actual Product Beta groups give invaluable insights into product usage, aiding in the identification and correction of major barriers within the application. The process of gauging user response is also aided to a great extent through interactions with users via phone calls, meetings, discussions, online forums and other such channels, as it is by reimagining user incentives for product feedback. Users are much more likely to provide more in-depth feedback to developers if they are incentivised with more than just free downloads and services.
Equipped with the ability to listen to the unsaid, see the invisible and read the unwritten, new-age entrepreneurs are a different breed altogether. They understand that their products are their lives, not their users, and opt for opinions from unaffiliated sources in order to gain objective insights into their product designs. Not only can they listen to differing opinions without any bias, but also have high numeric literacy and make decisions based purely on data. With dedicated roles such as Product Analyst and User Experience Engineer defined to collect and extract valuable information from abstract user feedback, they are helping in the creation of highly personalised experiences for the Indian consumer. Plugged into the pulse of the new India, which is a collection of the most astonishing consumer diversity ever, these entrepreneurs are building smarter organisations for a smarter nation and sowing the seeds of success in a highly dynamic business environment.