Developers spend a lot of energy and effort creating new features and functionality. Like a proud parent we hand over the finished product to the requesters excited that we have made a difference in the lives of our users. Our baby is all grown up and off to the real world!
Tragically we often discover weeks or months later the vision we had of our code solving problems was never achieved. Not because of poor code but because of user ignorance. That’s right–the users are completely unaware of the feature.
How can this happen?
It all boils down to poor communication. Even in situations with dedicated training teams some users may miss or completely forget about new features. We’re all busy. No one wants to set down to a ‘formal’ training sessions these days. We have customers to support, product to sell.
I hate to admit it but personally I never read the update notes on my phone Apps when I push the ‘update’ button. Usually updating an app is an inconvenience. Sometimes years later I will stumble upon a new feature only to find out it was added a long time ago.
As developers it’s time we take matters in to our own hand. We should not rely solely on product marketers to communicate new features outside of our applications. We should instead build in logic to highlight new features to users within the applications we are building.
I have found the best new feature alerts are the ones that just pop-up on the screen. And I’m not talking the log-in screen–the best alerts pop up IN CONTEXT to the page I am on. For example, wait to tell me about a new ‘send later’ feature when I am actually composing an item not right after I update my app.
The best alerts are also aware of what I am doing. I don’t want a pop-up alert about a new Dark mode feature when I am sitting outside–tell me about this new feature when I am in a dark environment. That’s when I am most likely to use the new feature and truly see the value.
For your next development effort take some to think about how you can help educate users about key features so all your hard work gets used by more people.
About Susan Thayer
Susan is an experienced CRM and digital marketing consultant with nearly 15 years of managing discovery, implementation and strategic use of CRM solutions and related programs. Prior to joining the consulting world, she served as director of marketing and other leadership roles for leading businesses in both the B2B and Consumer Goods industries. Past corporate employment includes digital marketing and e-commerce for a leading global auto parts corporation, medical products and a website design firm. Susan is a current board member for the Junior League of Lincoln and President of her HOA. She is a past board member for the American Marketing Association of Lincoln and past Public Relations Officer for the state of Arizona Toastmasters.
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