Keep an eye on users to help them proactively

Many times when you install a new application it will ask permission to collect and send anonymous usage data. This is true for many most Microsoft and Google products and most browsers. The data collected can then be used to enhance future versions of the product, add new features or drop unused features.

But rarely ever will the app maker ever proactively help the user in her usage of the product. I feel most app makers who have internal app analytics and those who don’t are missing out on a big user experience offering.

Soluto provides feedback on how others are using the productSoluto, for example, collects data from its users and help make decisions to pause or delay an app from Windows boot. It also allows users to edit app descriptions that then helps other users to understand what a particular app is for.

This makes the experience of using Soluto really great.

But what I have not seen in any product is proactive user feedback. That is personalized user interactions to help them use the product better. This is besides the traditional ways in which this data is used. Here are some thought on how this can be done:

1. Send user tips on how to better use the product based on current usage statistics.

2. Suggest the user to feature that she may not be using but you want her to.

3. Help her discover new ways to use your product.

The advantages are obvious. Greater interaction with the product, good word-of-mouth and recommendations.

What if you have too many users? You select the innovators, the power users and those who spend most time with your app. Of course before you do all this do not forget privacy concerns. Allow users the option to opt-in anonymously or with their email addresses. The default should always be opt-out. And remember, the product itself has to be worthwhile for any of this to work.

[image: Flickr/Niffty]