As many of you may be aware ClickASnap is known as a being at a ‘beta’ stage. What this means is that the site is still in a developmental phase. Now, normally, when projects are launched online, or elsewhere, an Alpha, beta, and usually several other phases are built, tested and rebuilt many times before one member of public is allowed to step foot on it. When I decided to launch ClickASnap i had to make a decision as to wether to go through a private development phase or a public phase. Both have their pros and cons:
- No public pressure to perform
- Much more controlled testing is available
- Costs far more controllable
- Direction is dictated by a small group of users, usually very tech orientated
- Can take years to take a product to market
- Large costs with no return for a significant period of time
- Potentially no market
- Potentially wrong product for any given market
- Massive userbase to help drive the direction of the platform
- Strain on cashflows reduced
- Real time market testing
- Platform growth
- Virtually instant entry to market
- Potentially deal with issues in near real time
- Very resource intensive
- Cash flow is very complex to control to address users issues in near real time
- Requires continual communication between users and company
All of these factors and more had to be taken into consideration by us prior to launching the platform in February 2016. I chose to go down the public beta route. The two biggest reasons that motivated me to do this was the ability to use our userbase to guide the platform into something that they want to use, and to be able to launch the product fast and start creating a market. I knew that if i went the private route we could still be in development a year on without having one user!
You may be asking why I am writing this article on Boxing day. The reasoning is as follows: I myself follow about 300 of the 10,000 users on this platform, and i do my best to monitor as much as possible what happens on the platform. However, what we are seeing happening every now and then is people complaining in their feeds about issues with the site, and then expecting these problems to be fixed. Now, bear in mind that just because you as a user are having an issue, assuming that anyone else is having this same issue is a mistake to make as 9 times out of ten and problem you have is only you having it. For a public development project to work properly any user that finds an issue with the site, wether it be sporadic or not, needs to post it in the forum. I myself will respond within a couple of hours (usually significantly less time than that) and then will forward a link to the forum to our developers. They will then add it into the queue and prioritise it dependent on what else is going on at the time. But, if posted in the forum it will be 100% fixed as soon as we possibly can do it. But if not posted in the forum and just posted in your feed, the odds of it being fixed are slim to none, why? Because we don’t know about it.
Being on a site that breaks occasionally or has ongoing issues can be a royal pain in the butt, I know this, but it’s a sacrifice that is made to make sure that the site grows in the right direction, and is built to service a market that needs and appreciates it. In time, and actually fairly quick time, issues will be solved and the site will get better and better which in turn will encourage growth significantly. This site has come a phenomenally long way in just a few months and a lot of this is to do with you talking to us and us following through with what we say and what you want us to say. So thank you for your feedback and time so far, and try to remember that if you come across bug or issue just put a quick post in our forums and we will address it as soon as we possibly can
In the meantime have a great Christmas and enjoy the rest of 2016!