Giving users a seat at the table: how we built our Android app

Giving users a seat at the table: how we built our Android app

A few weeks ago, we launched our native Android app, which had been in the works for months. We knew after our iOS launch earlier this fall, that this release was highly anticipated by our Android users and we really wanted to get it right. But no one on the team was an Android power user (at first), so we didn’t trust our product instincts the way we may have designing for web or iOS. We had a vague idea of the features required to deliver a great app experience, but the details were fuzzy. So we decided to do things differently: we relied heavily on our users throughout the development process, optimizing it around learning — collecting and incorporating feedback from a special group of beta testers early and often. What resulted has shaped the way we approach product development at Asana — not just for Android. We’re just getting started.

Smaller MVP with room to grow

When we initially built the product roadmap, we knew we had a lot to learn. Sure, some information was available to us from the beginning — user research, competitive analysis, lessons we learned on other platforms, etc. But we immediately acknowledged that lots of new information would become available to us later. For example, our team was small, but growing fast, and we expected to have a couple of Android experts weighing in on key decisions soon. We also wanted to factor in any advancements in Android technology or design that Google was planning to announce later in the quarter. Most importantly though, we wanted to incorporate feedback from beta testers on the app as it developed.

So we negotiated down to a tiny set of features we knew we’d need in order to test the app ourselves. For us, this meant focusing on Inbox. By only committing to building Inbox, we avoided the costs inherent in gaining consensus on longer term roadmap decisions. We chose to make those calls closer to the time of actually executing on them, when we’d presumably have more information available to us. We left plenty of room in our schedule to expand scope beyond Inbox for that reason.

Design with the intention to iterate

Our approach not only opened us up to design experimentation, but also allowed us to move faster than usual.

Knowing that our plans were subject…

A better Inbox experience

Inbox is your real-time notification center in Asana. But it’s not the scary, overwhelming notification center you’re probably most familiar with: your dreaded email inbox. Unlike email, Inbox puts you in control of the messages…