There is a lot of information out there. Media stories are often too long or confusing. Websites are a mess.
It can be hard for people to keep up with world news without getting lost or overwhelmed. Axios, a news media company, aims to change that.
“Our mission is to deliver the important news and information you need efficiently. That’s what our audience comes to us for.”
Marcus Moretti joined Axios in February 2019. He was assigned to lead the product development of the Axios app—an even more mobile-friendly way to get up to speed on the consequential topics shaping our future.
Since then, the Axios app has moved from an internal product, to a public beta, to a fully functional public release.
Marcus knew he wanted to try a user feedback solution before he even joined Axios.
“I realized [Canny] could solve a lot of problems that I had experienced in past roles. I didn’t have these issues at Axios yet, but I knew I might if we didn’t get a hold of it right away.”
He was also skeptical about some of the other feedback tools he’d seen before, and knew exactly what he wanted:
“We just needed a simple interface that lets users post their feedback that we can then organize and reference.”
By using a dedicated user feedback tool, Marcus wanted to achieve the following goals:
- Get all information together into one tool—a single source of user feedback
- Reduce time spent on internal communication across several channels
- Give users an easily accessible place to leave feedback, with an easy to use interface
Marcus had come across Canny as a user before on another product, and was impressed with the ease of use.
When the internal alpha version of the Axios app was released, the team opened up feedback in the product, via a link to a private Canny board. Testers immediately started using it.
“It was easy for the user who’s posting feedback as well as the admin. My colleagues posted and upvoted in the app frequently.”
Besides Canny being immediately accepted by testers, internal communication also became a lot easier.
“Instead of dozens of calls, emails, and instant messages, the team was able to efficiently communicate and collaborate in one place.”
Internally, the Canny board served as an easily accessible source of truth that aided plenty of conversations.
When talking to various stakeholders, Marcus would pull up the Canny board to help them understand what the users’ main requests were.
“Canny made the most important and urgent user feedback stand out, so we could innovate our product and deliver an even better experience for our audience.”
Axios internal team's response to Canny was promising. The engagement from testers clearly indicated that Canny could serve as a single source of truth for all user feedback.
“It was as useful as I thought it was going to be, actually more so. We decided to go ahead and also use it for the next phase: a closed beta.”
They created a different—public—board. The night they released the app to about a thousand beta testers, they already had a large number of posts and upvotes.
Since then, Axios has launched the app, and they are continuing to use Canny to gather and organize user feedback in an effort to continuously improve the product experience for their users.
“Canny is just customizable enough that I can use it precisely how I prefer while keeping it simple for my team and our users.”
We asked Marcus about some of the main benefits he’s noticed from using Canny for every stage of a product’s development cycle.
Operationally, he mentioned time saved, as well as a greatly reduced cognitive load.
Faster decision making has also been a huge benefit. Being able to pull up a single source of feedback truth in any prioritization conversation got rid of a lot of unnecessary back and forth.
“We can just pull up users’ feelings about specific features as we’re talking about them. It saves a lot of time.”
Faster and more efficient feature prioritization has had a clear impact on user satisfaction.
“Canny really helped us to achieve product-market fit for the app during the beta period.”
The main unexpected benefit Marcus mentioned is being able to notify users of when something was complete or changed with practically zero effort.
Not only has it been useful for time-saving purposes for product managers, it’s also helped pull in users who might have become inactive.
“It's not just a user communication tool, it’s also a re-engagement mechanism.”
Marcus has also noticed some loyalty and brand benefits to providing a tool like Canny.
“Our users really appreciate that we’re listening. Being able to freely post their thoughts on the product in a nice user interface is so much better than having to send an email into the void.”
With regard to being on the fence about using a feedback tool, he encourages other product managers to just give it a try.
“I tell people it’s a game-changer. Just try it out and see what happens.”