Learning is key.

With a new platform, it’s all about learning! What are you doing right, what are you doing wrong? Those are the central questions to answer. In addition to one-to-one interviews, broad surveys are always a good way to get some feedback. We build a small catalog of questions and went to the well known, widely used survey platforms for getting an actual survey of the ground.

But you know what? We did not like the way those platforms work, how the look and also what they learn about our audience. We were discussing this intensively in the founding team and decided to give it two days of development time and build our own little feedback engine. Actually, if you have a platform like Pengsquare in place already, adding a little survey feature is not very hard to add: some DB tables, a bit of UI and some binding logic. Put a little analysis cherry on top and et voila – one and a half days later you have your own, scalable and super flexible solution in place.

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Now we only need to wait for the first results, understand them and make strategic decision based on that… I guess, that’s the harder part.

 

The Pengsquare Team

Testing the landing page.

Pengsquare brings some completely new concepts of digital uniqueness, ownership and content appreciation to the table. With a platform like this, it is sometimes hard to find out if people understand the vision and the core of the platform right away. Some explaining

And this is why we are currently testing the quality of our landing page. How we are going to do that? Well, a simple experiment – we invite people via mail to join Pengsquare. Half of the target group gets a personal email and the straight beta invite to sign up with us. The other half only gets the personal email with a link to our landing page http://pengsquare.com and the hint to contact us for an invite, but no straight sign-up link.

From the actual return (email inquiries for invites), we hope to be able to deduct, if our landing page is good enough to intrigue people even without a straight beta invite. Are we able to create the excitement we feel also for people just browsing this one page?

If people don’t respond well to the landing page, we’ll definitely need to rethink our communication approach.

Stay tuned for the results!

The Pengsquare Team.

 

The business side of things.

Getting the business up and running, doing PR and bringing people to the platform is a whole different game! We put a lot of effort into the concept and software so far. But now we need to put the same amount of effort into bringing our vision to the people! It’s not an easy road ahead of us but we’ll try to learn as much as possible and make this thing happen!

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Every step of the way is hard, but its so worth it – each time a new user signs up, its a great feeling of accomplishment.

Stay tuned.

The Pengsquare Team.

UX-ed.

So this week we took a spin together with an external UX expert and who would have guessed it – we found some things that need a second look!

This time was spent so right! When developing a platform like Pengsquare, even as an experienced development team, you tend to loose track of usability, as you know the process in and out. You know the concepts by heart and you sometimes stop to put on the users hat. The beta users are a great source for feedback, but an UX expert brings super valuable skill and insights, that are hard to obtain otherwise.

Often, it is not only about the position of a button,  or information layout, but some very central questions are asked. Like: what does the platform do? Does the landing page explain that good enough already? Is everything as clear and accessible it is? Having those answered both, by beta users and experts is of great value.

We learnt a lot this week and we’ll definitely continue this.

The Pengsquare Team

Test Week #2

This week, we added some update notification mechanism to the platform. Basically, users are update daily via mail, if something relevant happened. And what can we say, our beta users responded rather positive! The logged back in, uploaded content, swapped items and send messages. Sometimes, just a little feature like this make a platform work better.

We love those insights, as they help us to make the platform even better! And the best thing – create content is shared with the world.

The Pengsquare Team

Snapshot 2016-03-01 22:05:38 +0000(NO2 by mitch – https://www.pengsquare.com/peng/view/4552648556544000)

Simple is not simple.

Adding features, fixing bugs, improving UX and all what comes with building a platform takes not only time, but also some amount of discipline. Making something work, is one thing. Making it work in a simple and lean kind of way is actually not that simple. You have to conceptualize, implement, refine, iterate, gauge and re-implement.

One simple example: keeping users engaged. In order to achieve that, a lot of interaction is required. If a user on our platform does anything, that might be relevant to another user, we want to make that know to that other user. But how to do that?

Our refined messaging seems to empower users to communicate, but so much more is happening on Pengsquare – likes, comments, offers… and all should be visible to the users concerned. We’re still trying to figure out, what the best option here is. Learning from other platforms is an option, but often not the best.

Right now, we are preparing our next beta invite round. Let’s see how this works out! Read you soon!

The  Pengsquare Team

Social without conversations?

Pengsquare aims to be a social content platform. The content part might not be easy from a technical perspective, but from a conceptional point of view, there are no question that need to be answered. But what makes up the ‘social’ part? Hard to define, right?

Even without finding a strict answer to what ‘social’ is, it probably always includes getting in touch, exchanging ideas, is some form talking to each other. From a technical perspective, this is a basic problem – how to send and receive messages? And this is how our first attempt was designed and built… and of course it proved to be insufficient – an email-inspired messaging system, where you ping pong messages back and forth.

Both we and our beta users quickly determined, that this sort of messaging will simply not work. It’s impractical and does not perform well when thinking ‘social’. Communicating with others should be fun and easy. Hence, we are currently redesigning the whole message sub-system!

We can’t stress enough, how important it is to us, that user can create something new, a new network and leverage the communication devices we have in place. Hence, every hour of this redesign is well spent!

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The Pengsquare Team

Test Week #1

Well, as to be expected, our restless beta testers found many, many bugs. Too many, to just do the book keeping on pieces of paper.

Hence, we were looking into super small bug trackers… and we did not find anything suitable. Even the simpler ones are more complex than we have the need for. So what now? Back to pen & paper? Well, nope! We just built our super simple tracker into Pengsquare.

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From a technically perspective, it is basically simple input form that stores the data in the database and gives use the chance to move an issue from ‘New’ to ‘Processing’ to ‘Done’. As simple as that! Just two hours of work and it gets the job done in a lean way.

Sometimes, building a small piece of software is definitely the better choice. And the best thing: now we can focus on what matters most: actually fixing the bugs!

Check it out: http://bugs.pengsquare.com

Here we go!

We just deployed the private beta of Pengsquare!

In the following days and weeks, we will work hard to push that piece of software to be ready and publicly available. A lot of work went into that whole platform and we are super excited!

Stay tuned and we will be back soon with some good news! But for now, we are off for some beers to celebrate!

The Pengsquare Team