Another SaaS Benefit: Critical, Useful Insight Into Product Usage

Last week, New Relic released new navigation and user interface changes for our service, and while this is always risky (“who moved my cheese?”), the feedback from our users was significantly positive.

So you may ask:

“Why would New Relic even mess with the navigation that has proven to be so successful for us to date?”

We are very committed to continued improvement of our service. In the past year or so, we added Real User Monitoring and Server Monitoring for free, Key Transaction Monitoring, as well as many other meaningful features. We are very focused on rapid innovation and delivering increasing value to our customers.

Because of the fact that we are a true SaaS offering, we also have powerful insight to how our 30,000 customers use our product. We are committed to using this insight to make our product better and more valuable for our customers. As we evaluated this feedback, we noticed that the use of new functionality in the product was not as consistent as it should have been. We know these are powerful features, and the feedback from people who use them is so positive that we suspect some people just don’t know they exist or where to find them. Beyond the qualitative user feedback, we used our own product as well as tools from Mixpanel and others to really understand our usage behavior.

As a result, we did some usability testing with two groups of people: customers and people who had never seen the product before. In other words, experienced users and new users.  These were hands on tests, where we asked people how they would use the product to solve specific problems that should require use of the features in question.

We learned a lot from these tests and thank the people who helped us.

Using that feedback, we redesigned the navigation with the purpose of making our very consumable product even more consumable. Our goal is to have a product that is so intuitive, that it fits into the natural flow of the user without extensive training. Based on the early positive feedback, it appears New Relic hit the mark (though we will continue to improve!), and I’m very proud of the work done by this team. As a result, users are able to fully leverage the functionality of our product, and hopefully, they are enjoying increased value from our service as a result.

Here are some tweets that act as fuel and motivation for our design and development team:

chris@newrelic.com'

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