Senior Product Manager, Jani Kiilunen, shares how we work with the Freetrade community to build the product
Steve Jobs was probably one of the most influential people when it came to building products that pushed the boundaries of what customers expect.
The products that Apple developed came from a place of great understanding, not of what the customer wanted, but of the underlying problems they faced.
Many great companies and founders focus on deeply understanding the problem and building a solution that solves these problems better than anyone anticipated. Henry Ford is known for his supposed quote “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.”
It’s easy to take for granted these incredible products and how they’ve changed the world, but all have done so for one reason: they solved the underlying problem better than most, if not all, would have anticipated.
It’s common practice in product development to avoid taking feature requests and suggestions at face value, no matter how great they sound. Instead, we dig into the problems that these requested features are trying to solve.
Sometimes the requested features will solve the underlying problem better than any other ‘innovative’ idea would.
However, in order to get everyone investing, we want to make sure we identify, understand and solve the problems in this industry as well as we possibly can.
The problem space of investing can be trickier than many others. The level of knowledge across our customer base varies, and developing a product that solves the problems for our most experienced customers, while also making sure it is just as accessible for those new to investing, brings significant challenges.
This is where a deep understanding of our customers is vital.
From the beginning, Freetrade believed that in order to create the best product to achieve our mission of getting everyone investing, we needed to make sure that we speak to and listen to our customers as much as we can.
This is one of the reasons we started the community forum even before we released the first version of our mobile app. We wanted to make sure that even the first version of the app tackled the core problems we saw.
Ever since, this mentality has built the culture of the product team as well as that of the wider company.
Since the first version of our app, the community forum has also grown into a vibrant place for our customers to share their thoughts with each other and support each other's investment journeys. It's not just a wish list of features for us to build. We have threads dedicated to upcoming IPOs, stock discussions and general financial chat.
We've seen so much value in these discussions, we've recently integrated them directly into the app.
At Freetrade we get input from our community members through a few different means, which all impact how and when we build products/features.
These methodologies can be split into the following:
These are all tools which the Freetrade Product team use in order to fully capture the needs and wants of our customers and to truly understand the problem space.
Each methodology gives us valuable insight throughout the lifecycle of product development, ranging from better understanding the audience to ideation all the way through to verification and iterations to improve products/features already released.
The community forum is a unique place for the Freetrade team to connect with our customers as well as for our customers to have a direct line with the team to voice their opinions, suggest features as well as point out problems that the current product might not solve as it stands.
The voice of our community plays a part in the wider user experience research that is conducted by Freetrade to understand customer pain points from those who might be aware of the community, might not be a vocal participant or may not even be using Freetrade yet.
All of these inputs contribute to the qualitative research used to build a clear idea of the problems we are tackling, married up to the quantitative data we see from the usage of Freetrade.
It is, and always has been, an important factor for us to understand what the Freetrade community is looking for and how that ties into the mission of Freetrade. We evaluate all product feedback and feature requests, connect all of the input with current product usage and other research, break the information down into problems we aim to solve and prioritise tackling those problems in order to build products that deliver value to customers and move us a step closer to Freetrade’s mission.
We believe that in order to create the best products, we need to understand the problems we are trying to solve in great detail and depth, and only then can we fulfil our mission.
We try to move fast, which means we might not always get it right the first time, but we keep iterating and solving the underlying problems through our products.
Check out our publicly shared roadmap, join the conversation and help Freetrade to get everyone investing!
And of course, we're hiring!
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When you invest, your capital is at risk. The value of your portfolio can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest.
Freetrade is a trading name of Freetrade Limited, which is a member firm of the London Stock Exchange and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. Registered in England and Wales (no. 09797821).