[This is a 47hats Tip.]
How many times have you seen your microISV web site? More times than you can – or care – to count, I’d bet. But you need to do it one more time, this time, put your Newbie hat on.

You know what a Newbie is, right?

“Newbie is a slang term for a newcomer to online gaming or an internet activity. It can also be used for any other activity in whose context a somewhat clueless newcomer could exist. It can have derogatory connotations, but is also often used for descriptive purposes only, without a value judgement.”- Wikipedia.

Here’s the thing: Those newbies? They’re your prospective new customers. And since we can’t yet clone them, you need to make the effort to see your site through their eyes.

You can get into the proper Newbie mindset. Here’s how:

  1. Suspend Judgment. When you look at your site, you’ll see every blemish, every issue, every night you worked late, every dollar you spend. All the emotional baggage, parental pride and open issues. You’ve got to put all that aside and just gather intelligence.
  2. Roleplay. Pretend you are a Newbie. What problem do you have that got you to find this site? What do you want to know?
  3. Use the browser you hate. If you always use FireFox, use IE. If you swear by (and not at) Safari, install FireFox. Put some emotional distance between you and your site.
  4. Quick glances, fleeting impressions. Glance – not study – your main page. That’s what Newbies will be doing. Then write down a few words to capture – without judgment – each of your impressions.
  5. Count hurdles. How many clicks does it take to complete buying your software? To download your software? For now, just count clicks and steps – later you can ruminate over how many sales are those hurdles to completion costing you.
  6. No fair cheating! If you catch yourself saying, “Oh, but I know what that means…”, or “the reason for that is…” or some such you are cheating on your Newbie Review. Who are you cheating? One guess.
  7. Then what? Doing the review is only the first step. You need to plan when and how you will correct the issues and make the improvements that looking at your site as a Newbie identifies.

Here’s a form – Your Newbie Hat form – that will walk you through doing a Newbie Review, with my compliments.

47Hats Your Newbie Hat Form

Finally, I’d recommend doing a Newbie Review about once a month. There’s always more Newbies!

11 thoughts on “Put on your Newbie hat

  1. From Dennis’ post: “The main purpose of ‘A Saturday Newbie’ tactics is not finding bugs, but finding barriers that get in the way of a user when he tries to solve a certain problem with our software.”

    -Bingo! This is a great complementary tactic to the one I suggest.

    The only thing I’d suggest is that you use VMWare or Virtual PC so that you can do an absolutlely clean install quickly each time.

  2. Pingback: Nick Bradbury
  3. Pingback: Easy tax tips

Comments are closed.