My favorite part of any job is sitting down and chatting with people. That’s why I’m always happy to do interviews here on the podcast – and a big thanks to Ben for letting me do them, despite my ‘stumbling starts’.
This week I chat with Marc Van Agtergn from Usabilla. He is their Chief Technology Officer and began with the company in June of 2011. Before that he worked in the corporate world at a large consultancy firm. In the podcast Marc talks about his move from the large company to join the start-up culture in Amsterdam. I get the feeling that he is happy about his decision because he now feels closer to the work. In a startup, everyone is directly involved with creating value for the users and stakeholders. This is the kind of energy that is lacking in unenlightened, bloated organizations. Usabilla like most startups is small and fast – they can’t rest of laurels- they have to earn them.
The Usabilla tool was conceived as a solution to the problem of collecting qualitative research data and is now being iterated into a robust usability testing product. Marc and I talked a good bit about the latest version of the web app which was released during the first week of January 2012. Based on their research of how users were using the product they made changes to make the tool easier and faster to gather actionable data. A major problem was that people would sign up and then not use the tool. To fix this, the basically got rid of the sign up – or rather, put the sign up process AFTER you create your first test. Marc used the term ‘Lazy Login’. You can immediately enter a URL and create a test, before you create an account. You can actually CREATE the test before sign up. Only when you are ready to activate and start collecting data, do you have to create an account – which is still free for one test and 10 participants.
Another change for the better are the template tests. The problem was that most new users are probably new to usability testing as well. These templates – along with targeted case studies on the blog and support docs – help produce better targeted tests and more clear, actionable results. Also, smaller changes are sure to improve the performance of the tool – such as, the ability to duplicate a test, saving screenshots to a collection for re-use, and the ability to view demonstration tests with large amounts of data (where the tool really shows its power and features).
Marc says that all the changes help to make the tool easier to use and to produce more powerful results.
I’m looking forwarding to using the tool more and providing more feedback to everyone there at Usabilla. They seem like genuine and authentic business people and I’m happy to confer on them the title of “Friend of the Podcast” – cue the fanfare. It’s great to connect to the energy and openness of a startup company decidated to improving the user experience of websites. Good luck, Usabilla and see you next time.
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