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When you work on an app for a living, creating a great “First time in app” experience is never done.

I asked for a friend’s opinion on another app’s walkthrough recently, and they said “It’s alright. No gaping holes.”

When it comes to user experience, “alright” can never be good enough. Building a great user experience is about constantly figuring out how to do it even just a little better, all the time, forever. It is never done. New users are like an acquaintance you just met. They’re probably not going to tell you outright if they’re offended by your bad joke. They’ll just smile and be polite, then walk away and never call you back.

There are so many ways we, as a product, can screw up our first impression. But for me, it comes down to a mismatch between the expectations we set for our users, and what we deliver immediately after that. Not a few days after that, or a week, or a month. In the first 30 seconds after we make that promise.

Imagine you order a cheeseburger for lunch. You’re all hunkered down and ready for that first bite when you realize, hey, there’s no cheese to be found. If you’re like me, you’re totally in it for the cheese, so this is a big deal. No note, no explanation. You already ordered and you’re real hungry, so are you going to call them and complain about the cheese? Nah. You’re going to just suck it up and eat your lunch. But you probably won’t order from that place again, right?

What if instead, the restaurant called you ahead and apologized, let you know they’re out of cheese and would you like to change your order to something else? That’s a different story. Your expectation of what you’re about to get now matches up with the sandwich that’s coming your way. You change your order to a chicken sandwich, they send you a free cookie as an apology. Are you gonna give them another shot? Sure, why not.

But enough about sandwiches, you get the point. For us, creating the perfect first time walkthrough for our users is a tall order. Different stakeholders use FieldLens to solve different problems. Each use case is unique. For some, reports are the most important pain point. For others it’s drawings, or task management, or punch list. Boiling all of that down to figure out an introduction that would be awesome and meaningful for all types of users has been our biggest challenge.

Ultimately, what guided our thinking on how to make this experience better was to come out and ask you.

We called you. We emailed you. We talked to you about your first experience in the app, and about others you’ve recommended it to. We asked you what were the first things you wanted to know. We asked the doorman in our building to try out a new intro we were working on to be sure that it wasn’t harder than we thought it was to digest. We stepped across the street and asked construction guys with clipboards to give us their honest feedback. And we got it (thanks, guys).

Of course what we want for you—more than anything—is to pick up our app, which does a lot, and feel like it’s as easy to get to know as a friend. To be able to make that kind of first impression is our aim. And we’re going to keep working at it. We hope you’ll help us get there with your honest feedback. You’ve never let us down.

Jamie Roth is Assistant Product Manager at FieldLens.

Image via _ari-s_/Bigstock