Writing on the principles & practice of building digital products

Other people have better imaginations

The first release of Boords exported groups of images as PDFs, and did almost nothing else. I say almost nothing because it did include a versioning feature, which allowed people to clone an existing Storyboard and work into a new version without worrying about losing their changes. As it turned out, nobody was really that fussed about versioning. But they did have some ideas about what we could be doing instead.

Early adopters use their imagination to fill in what a product is missing Eric Ries – The Lean Startup

How right you are Eric. The early prototypes of Boords were basically a blank canvas. The product was incomplete - we knew it and our users knew it. But within that canvas people imagined everything they wanted the tool to do in an ideal world.

We were sure to make it as easy as possible for them to let us know what they thought. We sent emails requesting feedback, put live chat on the app itself, and published a public product Roadmap where people can vote on features they'd like to see.

Many of the early suggestions were new to us. We used Boords internally to make our own Storyboards, and therefore had our own processes. Finding out how many nuances there can be to a seeminly simple workflow was a revelation.

One of the early insights was that almost everyone wanted a way to share their Storyboards online. This was something we had discussed, but it wasn't until we saw the breadth of the demand that we realised it was a "have-to-have".

As much as possible, we've tried not to second-guess what our users might want. If you give them a voice, people are really good at filling in the blanks.