I missed it, missed it completely.

That’s my opinion personally.

Failure.

A few days after releasing what should have been a killer new look, and we got nothing but complaints.

We had just redesigned the UI, something we should have been done years ago.

The problem was we had screwed up the tab functionality in the process.

For a “data entry” application (like ours) that’s translated into hours of lost productivity for some customers. In other words we where making the problem worse. Doing exactly the opposite of what customers purchased the software for.

Again, failure.

After looking at the same screens for months, I had totally missed this point. I rarely used the tab key because I wasn’t doing data entry all day. I was just testing to make sure everything “worked”.

Here’s how I recommend avoiding a mistake like this.

Testing with “fresh eyes”.

When working on the same project for a log time you start to get product fatigue. You understand how things should work. You have built habits about how the application runs.

You’re in a routine and it feels good… No it feels amazing because you’ve mastered the product.

Looking at the application with rose colored glasses is a problem. This familiarity leads to items falling through the cracks. That’s because something that seems intuitive to you doesn’t guarantee that it’s intuitive to your customers.

This is why you want fresh eyes on your application. Fresh eyes is when you’re looking at something for the first time or  more commonly something that you haven’t looked at in a while.

Ten Reasons Why You Want “Fresh Eyes” On Your Project

  1. You lower the probability of overlooking bugs. You don’t build application “habits”.
  2. Testers become less burned out. You’re not holding your nose to the grind stone looking at the some project all the time.
  3. You tend to use the product like a new user / customer would. The good thing about this that you bring usability issues to the surface.
  4. You come up with more test cases. This improves quality by boosting regression suites.
  5. Focus on key functionality. When you first look at something you tend to test the most important things. The most important things always key functionality.
  6. You fall back in love with the product. The first few moments a always the best. It’s just like a brand new relationship. You’re in the honey moon period.
  7. You’re more likely to catch UI bugs. This is another benefit of the reduced eye fatigue.
  8. The rate of learning is boosted when you first start out. There is some ramp up time depending on the complexity of the application. The good though is that you’ll be learning.
  9. Grows the teams knowledge base about the product. When everyone is trying out new parts of the application they gain a lot of exposure everything.
  10. Removes single points of failure in your team. Similar to growing the teams knowledge base. If everyones worked on a piece of the application then you don’t have to worry if someone gets hit by a bus. Well you do have to worry just not about someone else picking up there work.

Customers will always surprise you. Like most things it’s all about finding a balance. You want to keep “Fresh Eyes” on the application because you’ll catch more bugs.