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Massuni Update – August 31, 2014

August 31, 2014

Last week we ran through some usability tests with a fully functional system. The results were enlightening, and also very encouraging. While a few bugs surfaced, they all appear to solvable. The biggest issue that surfaced was the immediate need for enhanced discoverability (i.e. how a new user finds the method to do various tasks). Virtually every user was stumped at one or more steps when they couldn’t figure out how to do something. The good news is, once the user discovered the key processes, they all worked well. After the system had been used for two or three test scenarios – about 10 to 15 minutes – people were generally comfortable with the system and were able to work quickly and easily. Once each person had gone through a handful of prescribed tasks, they were then asked if they could think of a place in their own home where the Massuni system could create an item they otherwise couldn’t or wouldn’t acquire. In all cases, the answer was yes, and in all cases, they quickly configured the desired item. Couldn’t ask for better validation than that.

A press kit is well underway, but not complete – still a bit stumped on the images. In parallel with that effort, we spent some time this past week looking for a top notch PR outfit, having recognized that we weren’t going to be able to do it very well by ourselves. Everyone we spoke with had a strong belief that Massuni is newsworthy, and could pick up some strong press coverage. We’re now waiting for detailed proposals from the firms that seem best suited to our needs. 

One key issue related to PR and the crowdfunding campaign is the appropriate timeline. A determining factor is whether it is necessary to have the Massuni configurator open to the public. We have long believed that was important but are now questioning that position, for a couple of reasons. First, it’s not really expected, so its absence won’t be detrimental. Crowdfunding that involves software (such as gaming) rarely, if ever, has an operational system available to use – that’s what the crowdfunding typically finances. Second, the amount of work to be done before we’re ready for public access is still very hard to predict and quantify, and it’s therefore hard to put a deadline to it. Right now, it seems unlikely that the system will be robust enough to tie into crowdfunding before Christmas, and pushing the campaign into 2015 is a very unattractive prospect. That development could be greatly accelerated if we had funds from a successful campaign to grow the team, so all considered, it seems better to run the campaign with a strong demo video but not live system access. If anyone has opinions on this, please share them.

In the coming week we will continue to narrow the field of PR partners, continue working on the press kit, start tackling the bugs that were reported in testing, and start development on a variety of discoverability techniques that we’ve already been discussing.



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