UXer Talks - Growth of Mockplus: from the Birth to Version 3 - Talk with Mockplus Development Team Leader Massimo
INSIGHTS OF THE INDUSTRY-LEADING UXERS AND PMS IN CHINA
Interviewer: Julie, the Planning Manager at Mockplus
Interviewee: Massimo Yang, the Mockplus Development Team Leader
Today Mockplus released its 3.2 version that we have been waiting for so long. This update is full of sincerity since the 3.2 version contains most new features of Mockplus ever, including: UI flow design mode, Repeater, Templates, Sketch Import, Timer, etc.
In today’s UXer talk, we are delighted to have the Mockplus development leader Massimo. Let us follow him to explore the mysterious Mockplus development team and the story behind 3.2 version.
Massimo loves watching movies, playing basketball and try all sorts of interesting things to relieve stress. When we talked about Mockplus development team, Massimo looked very proud and said: "Each member of our team has their own unique personality, but we have a common goal. Now Mockplus has some influence in this industry, and we owe such success to the hard work of this excellent team. No my brothers’ pains, No Mockplus’s gains.
J: As we all know, you’ve participated in all the process from the birth of Mockplus to the release of 3.2 version. So, What does Mockplus mean to you?
M: Mockplus is like my own child, and I have been watching it grow up step by step. When we first developed Mockplus, we didn't plan so much. Just a simple idea occurred to me that I wanted to make a practical tool for others as well as myself. I never thought it would become so popular with so many product managers and designers. I’m also very pleased.
From the beginning to the present, this period is not long, but also not short, because my career is not long, so I spent most of time on it. Now Mockplus users in China have reached 50 thousands, which means that our responsibilities are getting increasingly more. We also hope that we could satisfy more users through our efforts.
J: How does Mockplus team do analysis of users’ demands? How do you determine the new features of 3.2 version?
M: This is mainly due to Mockplus users, they are very professional. Whether product managers or designers, they describe their needs very accurately, which help us a lot. For those who make products, it is very difficult to understand the needs of users, because most users aren’t able to clearly and accurately describe their own ideas, however, Mockplus users can give us a very direct feedback every time and let us know their real thoughts, so that we can save some energy to further analysis of user needs. By sorting out their feedback, we can directly find their pain points and the priorities of these needs.
So, this 3.2 version of the new features is also through the analysis of user needs and trade-offs, and ultimately determine the down, and perhaps some of the user's needs we have not yet achieved, but please believe that we have been included in the development plan, We hope that our users can understand our feelings and look forward to following updates of Mockplus.
J: What are the most attractive things in the new features?
M: First, Repeater. In fact, we had considered to add this feature for a long time, but we need some time to consider how to do it well. When you design a page with a large number of repetitive elements, you can quickly repeat them by Repeater, so that you can efficiently edit page elements and significantly shorten the working hours.
Second, Templates. This is very useful for the novice, because they are not familiar with how prototyping works and do not know how to start their design. Through our templates and demos, they get some inspiration, then get started quickly.
Third, UI Flow. After designing a lot of pages, there will be a lot of switches and interactions among these pages. If you can use a picture to show these relations, your product managers quickly comb your design thinking and find the core page or missing pages. We also analyzed flow charts of some designers, in comparison, we have a lot of improvements, I believe it won’t let users down.
J: In the development process of 3.2 version, which part is more difficult than others? How does your team deal with it?
M: UI Flow is one difficult part, because the UI Flow involves a lot of adjustments of old features, and it is supposed to display many pages in one interface. How to make it more fluid to achieve is also a difficult point.
The following is our solution. Although we have to display so many pages in one interface, the number of pages of people’s visual range is limited, so we can only ensure the number of pages that people can see in one time, then we make the rest of pages delay to load in. Finally, we not only meet the demands of users, but also ensure the fluency of the page load.
However, this is only a typical difficult of UI Flow in the development process. We encountered many difficulties, but through our engineers’ hard work, we gradually overcame these problems. We have done the internal testing of this new feature, and we are satisfied with the testing results, I believe that our users would also like this new feature.
J: In the iterative process of Mockplus, does it exist that some good functions or update don’t receive good responses among users as expected?
M: In fact, this situation always exsits. Like the name of Wang Xiaobo’s essay, The Silent Majority, only a few people would tell their real thoughts, most people won’t take the initiative to express their views. Sometimes, we will do a number of interviews or questionnaires, but we can only collect ideas of those people who want to share their thoughts, so this collection is unilateral. So as the software industry, in fact, only a very small number of users tell their thoughts. As for this situation, we should try to understand, because as a developer, we can’t do these things to meet a certain part of users. If our team does such thing without caring the demands of most users, then the whole team lost the right way. Finally, we may win a fanatical users, but lost most of users.
I think the user groups can be broadly divided into three categories, the first category is fanatical enthusiasts, this type of people like to express their views and ideas. The second category is the professionals, mainly are senior users of our software. The third category is the majority of people, that is, common people. We want to learn what most of our users think about and what they really need, although these new features may not be welcomed by those enthusiastic enthusiasts when they come out. They may say that this is not cool, and they don’t like it , but we have to be clear that we need to solve problems for the majority of people. I also believe that most users would understand what we care and think.
J: So how does the Mockplus team receive and deal with users’ feedback?
M: Mockplus users are around the world, for domestic users, we mainly through the QQ group and E-mail to receive their feedback. We have a principle of QQ group, that is, "three minutes principle", which means that we need to answer our users in 3 minutes when they need help. This not only reflects our professionalism, but also express our serious attitudes towards the user. For overseas users, we mainly receive their feedback through E-mail, online community and social platforms.
After receiving these feedbacks, we will mark and classify them. If they find a bug, we will immediately arrange developers to fix it, so they are really satisfied with our speed of fixing bug. If the customer provides some improvements or new requirements of our product, we will record the needs and users’ contact way in our development list, because the customer service staff less professional than us, so sometimes they can’t describe the needs not very clearly. Then, our technical staff will contact the user directly for further inquiries to ensure we can receive the most accurate comments. When these new features come out, we will inform these users.
J: Mockplus has always adhered to the principle of easier and faster, and you always focus on design, rather than tools. Can you talk about your opinions on this?
M: We want to use this sentence to remind ourselves, what we did is not only for making a tool, we must know our goals, that is, to make product managers and designers faster and easier to complete their own prototype design and express their thoughts.
There are many professional tools, such as Micro Office, its function is also very powerful, but most people may use less than 10% of all its features. As the power of our team is limited, we need to consider what should we choose and give up. I think we should focus on how we can make our design ideas more fluently and better design their own products, rather than do some fancy things. Whether a function is really helpful in the design process or not is the most important factor in considering whether or not to add this feature.
J: I believe that you must have gone through a lot of twists and turns, so, in this process, is there anything particularly memorable for you? Do you want to share with us? As development team leader of Mockplus, would you like to say something to your users?
M: Nothing is easy, and we would face difficulties every day, especially in terms of technology. However, thanks to the hard work of our development team, no matter what kind of problems, we can face them positively and try hard to solve them. We are faced with different challenges every day, so now I am really hard to think of any particular difficulties, the whole process just like climbing mountains, although there are still endless mountains in front, but We experienced countless beautiful scenery along the way. If you get over it, then it can’t be called as difficulty any more.
For our users, I would like to take this opportunity to say that without their support, Mockplus would never be so successful, especially domestic users, Mockplus team is really proud of you. In fact, first we started to develop Mockplus for overseas markets, so initially we only released the English version, and later we took a try to release the Chinese version, but its development of the past few years surprises me a lot. Domestic users are very inclusive, they can understand us and they also very support us. We are very touched. In addition, in recent years, the domestic awareness of the strengthening of payment also makes us very surprised, we did not expect the domestic market would have good results. After we win the domestic market, then we would be confident to hit the international market. Chinese software industry is now getting more competitive in the international market, its success owe to the efforts of everyone.
J: Many people do not believe you are so young, because you are kind of successful in this young age. So, as the leader of Mockplus development team, would you like to share some experience with other developers?
In fact, I’m still young, so I don’t have so much experience, and my technical skills are not very mature, so I’m really hard to share some experience, I can only talk about some thoughts of being a developer. As a developer, you should have a wide horizon, you are supposed not to be too cautious, and you’d better not to be confined to your own technical field. I found that many developers like to discuss the pros and cons of online development language, the advantages and disadvantages of framework, whether the tool is advanced or not. Why not spend these time on learning more things? I suggest you, especially new developers to try something new, and even things beyond your field. Any things you learned can bring you benefits, maybe in the future work, they can give you some special inspiration.
In addition, many people may feel that development is a very hard and boring work, because we work with the computer all day, so we also left a dull impression to people. However, I think if they love to do development job, they would have a lot of fun. Solving the problem with computer is a very happy thing, and I also hope that they can find their own happiness in the development process. Happy hacking!
Last, I would like to take this opportunity to thank each member of our development team, I am really proud of them. I would prefer you to interview them if possible, because their stories are more worth writing. Of course, we would also like to thank our lovely and respectable users!
INSIGHTS OF THE INDUSTRY-LEADING UXERS AND PMS IN CHINA