This thread is the collaborative effort of some users (listed at the end) to propose the idea of adding a ‘beta’ or ‘public/open beta’ tag to the app to retain more users. It is in no way meant to undermine the work of the staff or tell them how they should be running the app, but just some thoughts and suggestions on what we believe might help.
We know, but others don’t
The active byte members have seen the process this team and community has been through and know that there is a great amount of potential in this app. However, one of the biggest issues with new users is that they join the app thinking that it’s the final product and are unaware that the app is still being worked on. Adding the ‘beta’ tag might be a good way of addressing that issue.
Safety net of beta
People tend to be MUCH more critical of finished products, so when they download byte (which seems to be a finished product from the outside perspective), and they feel that there are missing features or a lack of engagement, they are quick to criticize these and end up leaving. When something is in beta, people tend to be more forgiving with bugs, glitches, missing features, etc since it can all be improved upon or added through many updates over time. So adding the ‘beta’ tag onto the title would inform newcomers that the app is still being worked on and perhaps this would retain more users.
A perfect example of this would be video games. Many games have an open/public beta stage, and if people find issues, bugs, or missing key features during this stage, they excuse them since it’s only in beta. Had these same issues, bugs, or missing key features been found on a game that seemed to be complete, users would end up deleting that game.
When byte was in beta, the active community members were excited to invite others to the app, and the missing features at the time could be excused by the app being in a closed beta. But now it’s hard to invite new people to the app and get them to stay without repeating that “the app is still being worked on” or “this and that will be added eventually.”
What beta would mean?
One thing to note here is that beta wouldn’t mean a downgrade. It would just be a way of informing unaware new users that the app is still being developed. It also doesn’t mean that anything has to change (apart from calling it an open/public beta). The [closed] beta testers will still be there to test for bugs and other issues before things are pushed to the public.
An additional benefit to this would be that things can now be freely tested on a larger scale. The [closed] beta testers can give feedback, but sometimes you need to test certain features with more users (Similar to how we got a better idea of what needed to be changed after it was tested by more users at launch). It would also make people feel like they are part of the community and are contributing towards building this project, which makes you want to support it even more and encourages them to stay up to date on the forums, byte site, and twitter.
Dealing with moving into public/open beta
Moving from public to public beta is a very difficult decision to make (and of course completely up to the team since they know the state of the app better than we do). It would be a tough transition and may seem like a step backwards but it could potentially help us move forward towards building a stronger app that has more user retention and can grow more. And it shouldn’t be looked at as “we messed up, let’s go back” but more as a way to be able to test things on a larger scale, get more feedback, and make it easier to push new updates.
The question then becomes, when will they launch? The aim here is to polish the app, not perfect it. To bring it to a point where all the basic features (like rebyte notifications, toggleable stats, and ability to like comments, and directly reply to comments, etc) are readily available for users, and the additional stuff (like floaties, etc) can come after. A polished app doesn’t mean final. But having the polished app would give users a reason to stick around, and also would create an opportunity to start advertising. If that can be achieved, and the team is then comfortable with the polished version, a secondary launch could potentially even cause another spike of new users, most of whom might even stick around for longer
Users join byte and immediately criticize the app complaining that it has unfinished features and isn’t engaging enough which causes them to leave as soon as they join thinking it’s a finished app. Long time users see the full potential of what this app/community can be. Adding a ‘Beta’ tag to the title helps resolve some of the issues. Users would stick around thinking this is an ongoing work in progress that they can contribute to the app.