Part of yesterday was spent repairing a rather ugly incident in production where I deleted a test user, but did not delete the events created by that user. Remember to use dependent destroy boys and girls!
Yesterday, a good friend mine and a loyal viewer Ryan Taylor responded to my call for more user feedback. He just sent some notes through facebook messenger. Mostly about cosmetic stuff, like position of the signup button, or that the font size may be too small for the dropdowns.
The most revealing notes were about matters of user miscommunication. For instance, should you use your real name at signup, or a gamer tag? And what does it mean to claim a game? Does it mean you own it? Is it installed?
This just goes to show that programming is not so much about solving a problem as it is about communication. The program has know that the user is there to do something and it has to tell the user what it can do. Ryan suggested using a wizard or tooltips to walk users through the site, but I wonder, can I make the site’s design obvious enough so that anybody can use it from the get-go?
I also noticed that as Ryan signed up on the site, he was not able to create any events because he did not have any friends on my site. Which is not really true, I’m connected to him through facebook. Yesterday I managed to run the password authentication through oauth, which means I can finish implementing the facebook authentication. Hopefully I’ll use that so that if facebook friends go on the site, they should be able to find their friends immediately after signup.
So to re-iterate, talking with users get you great feedback and much-needed direction. Anybody who is working on a web app should get it in front of their friends and family as quickly as possible. If any of you want to give me notes on the user experience of gameplaydate, just head down to gameplaydate.com, make an account, and send all notes to me! Through James@gameplaydate.com.