For example, we tested our walking-to-school app – Crocodile – and discovered teachers didn’t find it useful whilst managing young, energetic school children! They also used a diverse range of mobile devices, including many that couldn’t actually run apps.
The solution needed to be different and we settled on a web based platform for teachers, students and parents to connect. They could arrange walking, buses, trips, parties, sleepovers, anything they wanted – a bit like a secure Facebook for schools.
It makes sense to test an interface that touches people before you work back to the technology.
The insight came after we had invested a lot of time and money building something we thought people wanted. As parents, we’d guessed what people needed, but got a surprise when we left the studio and tested our assumptions in the real world.
We’re currently reading a book called Sprint by Jake Knapp and we wish we’d read it earlier. The idea is that you spend 5 days sketching ideas, build a rough prototype and test it. After 5 days you should have discovered where the value lies in what you’re building. It can be as simple as a paper prototype or as complex as a functioning website.
It makes sense to test an interface that touches people before you work back to the technology. We’re kicking ourselves at such an obvious strategy; these things always look that way in hindsight.