“77% of users leave within 3 days of installation.”
Perhaps the most impactful takeaway from Group 1’s presentation on Flowx would be this statistical tidbit that they shared. Indeed, we work so hard to get users, the harder we should work to keep them. I find this highly applicable to CS3216, where every product we create is done with the end goal of users in mind. User interface, user experience; it is rarely about the technology used (though they are certainly exciting to us as developers). What draws in users may not always be the same as what retains users, and as we move on to becoming software engineers in the future, this is something that we always have to keep in mind.
Application Purpose and Features
The next striking point brought up would be the inability of Flowx to zoom in enough to see the weather conditions of local areas (in particular, Singapore). This begs the question, what is the purpose of this application? If it is for users to anticipate weather conditions and prepare their travels in advance, then certainly local/domestic travel, which is easily 15x the amount of international travels (https://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2015/article/travel-expenditures-2005-2013-domestic-and-international-patterns-in-recession-and-recovery.htm) , needs to be supported with adequate features.
I also very much agree with the point presented on colour schemes.
Taking a look at the picture above, we see shades of purple that aren’t even represented in the colour palette at the bottom! Is it closer to blue? Or is it closer to red? I do not know. Sure, we could perhaps infer that since the purple areas are encircling the blue, then it would make sense (because temperature should be continuous) that the temperatures indicated by purple are closer to the blue region in this case. But I am not a meteorologist and I really shouldn’t have to be one.
Often times, we create products with the masses in mind. And it makes sense, for they will make up the bulk of your user base and by extension, your revenue. But when and to what extent do we need to dedicate features for those who aren’t part of the majority? The point raised on colour-blind mode for data visualisation perfectly illustrates this scenario. Something such as a toggle-able colour-blind mode which probably isn’t the most difficult thing to implement should, as Group 1 suggested, definitely be supported.
In my opinion, one aspect that Flowx did well is in separating the beginner version of the app with the Pro version, that can be separately upgraded/purchased. The outliers (data-inclined) can pay more to enjoy the data heaven that is weather forecast, while beginners can use the most basic functionalities.
Some concluding thoughts
In some ways, software development (on constrained resources) is bijective to a Game Theory optimisation problem. How much time and effort should we dedicate to drawing users in vs keeping existing users, what features should be prioritised on giving the best experience to users, whether companies are monetarily incentivised to cater to the minorities (as disparaging as it sounds…), and more.
Hopefully in due time, I will learn what it takes to master this intricate balancing act.