To the Moon on a Meteor

Posted by Craig Wattrus

26 February 2014

Code editor install

We want to fundamentally change how our new users experience their first five minutes in our app. It means some big changes and so we wanted to be sure before expending the effort of getting the changes into production.


- We had an idea of what we wanted
- We didn’t want vague answers
- We didn’t want it to take more than 3 days
- We wanted to make it shareable and fun


Meteor.js made this process really quick. We took two designers and after two and a half days of crazy amounts of coffee and code we came out all the functionality a user needs in their first five minutes.

Additionally we built in a visual guide to help the user learn some basics.

We placed a lot of attention on logging everything that happens in the prototype so that we could get some data out after sharing it.

Why Meteor?

- Smart packages like account management
- Everything was reactive and blazingly fast (because of this)
- Out of the box off-line (pretty important in a coffee shop setting)
- JavaScript all over (good for us front end folks)
- It’s simple and quick to add functionality

Punch card
It took 2 and a half days, 21 commits, 981 additions and 145 deletions.

Free Coffee if You Test our Site

We split into two teams of 2 and 3. Each team chose a coffee shop / co-working space close to our offices Workshop Cafe and just pitched up with a sign “Free coffee if you test our site”.

“Is this meant to feel like a game?”

We successfully validated our new process.

We learned that what we thought would take 5 minutes took a little less. We learned that users (even not within our target market) loved our more gameified approach. One user even asked “Is this meant to feel like a game?”.

“We moved from confusing and bitterness after signing up”

We learned that less is more. Testers loved the simplicity. We moved from confusing and bitterness after signing up to most testers not even commenting on signing up at all. This left us with enough good will left to get the user through some basics before they started their own projects.

Some testers asked “Hey, how would I get to this signup page” and so we also tested our very rough product landing page in the process. We got incredibly valuable feedback that our landing page was failing miserably at setting context.

Quick, Dirty and Beautiful

These quick and dirty throwaway prototypes can not only give super valuable insights when shown to the right people but they are also fun, energizing and can bring you and your team a new level of motivation and engagement.

Would we do this again? Absolutely!

In fact we have already. We tweaked the design significantly and are in a round two testing with some other startups in the area.

As a last stand before we put our prototype to rest we added a final step in the app which gathers some feedback and then shared it with the world.

the code on GitHub

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