Is it normal to lose optimism when getting feedback on a project?


I've been working on a web app for 4 months, and did some usability testing with about 10 people today, with mixed results.

Some people said they hated my design, others had no comment about it, others had funtionality suggestions or complaints.

I am super glad that I did the tests so I can iterate quickly, but honestly, it made me feel inadequate. It's hard to get feedback from people on something you love so much and have worked so hard on, which is one of the reasons I think a lot of startups fail- (they're scared of the truth).

I'm just wondering if any of you guys out there have felt a little unsure, uneasy, unconfident, etc, after getting feedback on your product.

I have tons of faith in my app and didn't get any damning feedback by any stretch of the imagination, it's just been an emotional roller coaster.

Anyone have similar situations when they launched their mvp?

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asked Dec 17 '11 at 14:36
Mark Hill
33 points
Top digital marketing agency for SEO, content marketing, and PR: Demand Roll
  • Showing off your app after four months of dev is a looong time. That is the all point of getting feedback. You need to get used to criticism. It is impossible to hit 12 at the first shot. Think about how Facebook was at the first iteration. What made it much better than the others is very quick iterations. You should be glad 10 people agreed to take a look at your idea and comment on it!. Keep on talking with people. Show your newest versions. Show them you are committed to the product. Show them you care about them and their problem. It is the only thing they care about. Not you!Go out &rock! – Bahadir Cambel 12 years ago

4 Answers


I felt like this just the other day and this quote from Rob Walling's excellent post boosted my morale:

"One thing you have to get used to as a founder is the ongoing stream of setbacks."

Here's the full post: Also, aren't you better off now that you are not on the path to being one of those dudes that spends a year working on a product in isolation, launches it and it flops because no user wants it/can use it? You've only put 4 months into the project and probably 50-75% of what you've built is really uesful. Keep going!

answered Dec 17 '11 at 15:13
157 points
  • Thanks for the comment. I read the post and really liked it. I guess we tend to read so much stuff that sometimes idolizes founders and makes them seem invincible, it's nice to remember that everyone has the same feelings of self-doubt sometimes. – Mark Hill 12 years ago


Mark, you are in a much better position than we are. Due to our geographic location, we have not seen a customer using our product for the first five years or so after v1.0 release. I recall sitting next to a very loyal client in a cafe in Silicon Valley with my ears turning red as I watched him accomplishing a routine task with 10x the mouse clicks and movements than were necessary - we had no idea that the quick way is so non-obvious. (Not to mention that there was no need to repeat those actions each time he used the product, which he also did!)

Before that, we had a few prospects who abandoned their trials and took time to drop us a line saying that the product was too complicated for them, but they never went into details. Had we that kind of extensive feedback early on, we surely would have made more sales in the early years.

Mark, the information you have at your fingertips is absolutely invaluable. Flip to the positive side, now!

answered Dec 17 '11 at 23:07
Dmitry Leskov
606 points


I remember a very inspirational business woman explain how it was a daily struggle for her to remind herself why she was working as hard as she did and for what reasons she did it. I think that's probably true for all of us to some degree or another, to have a reminder as to why we do what we do. In your case, you were shaken to the core because you received unexpected reviews. Despite that are you willing and wanting to continue? If you can pick yourself up and continue on then you will know that you have what it takes to succeed in your ventures. We all get knocked down but not everyone can get back up and improve. Make sure that you're one of the ones that can get back up and improve, take their feedback and use it to your advantage and learn a lesson from this as well, don't wait too long to get feedback, talk to your customer base early and often and you will avoid this type of issue in the future.

Just keep going, if you know that your software will provide a valuable service then all you have to do is make it function more towards the customers expectation.

answered Dec 20 '11 at 08:47
670 points


People more comfortable critiquing design than they are functionality because in one moment they determine if they "like it or not". I will say that the design is not final and I'm looking for feedback on how "it works". This seems to mute the I like red, I hate red, I like Amazon, I hate macaroni salad comment. As you talk with users/potential customers about the product, they'll use words such as "fresh" "traditional" "fun" that cue you in on what they think about the design. Try to think of the words that you want to convey; such as "warm, welcoming, inviting" or "avante-garde and unique" or "traditional and trustworthy". These words will lead you to talking with customers outside of the yes or no format. In design, then, you can match up color, positive and negative space, and font with the words you determine that describe what you want users/customers to interpret when they come to your site/product.

answered Dec 20 '11 at 06:08
Kelly Cooper
88 points

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