How a Product Gets Its Name: A VerifyApp Use Case
Background: Products in Need of a Name
At Flat World, we’ve been hard at work preparing to launch our summer products, and preparing for fall when students order most of their textbooks.
We’ll be introducing some new features to our student store. Specifically, we’ll be offering 3 product tiers that range from our free book reader to a all-access format and study-aid supported experience.
But what on Earth should we call these things? Our product names should be clear to our users, but reflect the modern and forward-thinking nature of Flat World Knowledge. Should we be clever with the naming, or just keep it simple?
User-centered design helps build great products–we know that well. And since we’re designing for students, we asked them.
Step 1: Our marketing team kickstarted a Facebook contest to help us name our new reader.
Step 2: Internal review. We pooled the 175+ entries together and marketing bribed the Flat World team to a “Naming Party” (read: there was pizza). All of the user-generated names were written in butcher paper on the walls, and about 20 “Flatworldians” walked around and marked the ones they liked.
From 175 entries, we reduced the pool to 3 options. Thinking through the suite of products, we were left with:
- Option A: Free Pass, the “KnowBrainer” and All Access Pass
- Option B: Free Pass, Study Pass and All Access Pass
- Option C: Free, Plus and All Access
And then there were 3. Bring on the high-fidelity mock ups.
User Testing: Enter VerifyApp
Step 3: Test remaining product names in design. Taking our 3 options, we decided to take the high-definition mock ups, or comps, and put them in front of users to gauge their reaction.
To do this, we used VerifyApp, a service for quick and easy user testing. On VerifyApp, you can A/B test, run click tests, or have users annotate screenshots. You can also use VerifyApp to recruit testers for $1.00 each, and we put that to good use as well.
Our method: since we had 3 options, we ran an A/B test for Options A/B and then against Options A/C. This meant that A got 2x many impressions, but we were using this tool for the first time and wanted to see what it was like.
Results: VerifyApp gave us very clear results from the market. While users gave us points for trying with the cleverness of “KnowBrainer” (“The ‘KnowBrainer’ heading just made me want to read more due to the quirky name”), most users were looking for clear labels. They valued utility over the pun (one quote: ”After I finally found some differences, the ‘KnowBrainer’ pun made my face hurt.”)
Lessons learned and feature requests:
- For testing 3 versions, the data is a bit unclear when rolled up into the dashboard. We would have liked to see the data broken out into Control versus Variation A, and Control versus Variation B. Otherwise, the percentages are confusing.
- Color doesn’t encode meaning–all of the percentages are green, which doesn’t help us make quick sense of the data.
- Recruit testers *after* test is deployed. After we launched the test and realized we needed more users, we couldn’t purchase them after the fact–we had to relaunch the test, which was a bit frustrating.
We have a clear winner from the test! Incorporating some other types of user testing, along with a few other factors, we landed on our finalized naming scheme. The product tiers will be named “Free Pass, Study Pass, and All Access Pass.”
Again, quick, inexpensive, and informative feedback to drive our product development. Thanks, Verifyapp!