There are many factors that go into making great mobile products—for startups and enterprises—and one of the largest universal mistakes I’ve seen over the past few years is a product team ignoring the user as a source of truth. This may sound straightforward to some of you, but it’s one of the most consistent mistakes. It has two parts:

  1. Figuring out who is going to use your product
  2. Incorporating the user’s feedback while you build a mobile product

I’m not going to write about figuring out who is going to use your product because I don’t think you should even be in the building phase without this figured out. Honestly, I hope you have an idea on who is going to use your product. You have a problem you are solving, right? Instead, I will touch on incorporating the user’s feedback while you build.

You are not the end user, and you are too close to give an unbiased opinion on usability.

I understand that you may be an expert at your business, and you may even be an expert of your end users, but you are not the end user. Even if you are a subset of the end user pool, you are too close to the product to give an unbiased opinion on usability.

The users that will be interacting with your application are the ultimate source of truth.

Does this feature make sense? Is this intuitive? Does this communicate what we desire? Does this create confusion? All of these questions will be answered by your users—whether you like it or not—when you put the product out to the public. Don’t get me wrong, product teams are filled with experts.

However, a product team operating in a silo without a user feedback loop is blind.

If you want to save time, and save money, start to incorporate user feedback throughout the product building cycle. This starts with design. Do not wait until you’ve designed and developed the product before your first user intercept—it is too late. Place wireframes and sketches in front of users.

post-it about usability test

Watch them. Record them. Ask them questions.

Find out if the UI makes sense. Ask how they feel using the application. Find out if users naturally flow to the parts of the application that deliver value. Are users confused? This process takes very little time and delivers incredible value. There are even websites that will do it for <$10/user, and you only need 8-10 users to receive incredibly valuable feedback.

The end users will decide whether to keep using your product or not and I’ve seen too many mistakes made because people ignored this source of truth while attempting to build mobile products. Avoid this Mobile Product Building Mistake #1. If you don’t know how to do user intercepts, send me a note and I’m happy to explain or introduce you to an expert.

This is one part of a series called 9 Mobile Product Building Mistakes. Stay tuned shortly for Mobile Product Building Mistake #2: Siloing design and development.