All of us have gone through those awkward years, when a massive acne breakout could mean social devastation and a less-than-stellar conversation with the opposite sex might signal the end of your dating life. Well, at least for a few days.
Ultimate-Guitar.com might not be breaking out the Clearasil or going through those particular hormonal rites of package, but we are working out our growing pains. In launching the newest addition to our site, UG Plus, we realized it wouldn’t be perfect right off the bat. It was almost a guarantee that crafting a new service would require months of research. The solution? We sought out the advice and feedback of our most devoted (and brutally honest) UG users. Our aim was to make UG Plus the most interactive, accessible service offered yet on our site, and thanks to our pivotal beta testing period we believe we have attained that goal.
UG Plus’ Tab Pro
and Backing Tracks
services needed to be streamlined in order to give musicians the optimum users’ experience. After crafting the basic foundation of UG Plus
, we then reflected on how we could obtain the most useful feedback. We invited the 35 most-active UG users and offered them the opportunity to beta test UG Plus
, while also encouraging them to ask friends to participate in the testing period. The results of that initial trial phase were a true success, with over 1,500 responses from the 750 total beta testers.
With the wheels in motion, we quickly encountered our first problematic issues. We learned that UG Plus was not the most user-friendly in terms of actually logging in to the site. Our beta testers indicated that they really weren’t sure of the next step to take after one purchased the service. There’s nothing more embarrassing than touting a site that seemingly won’t let you get past the home page, so we hastily made edits to the format. We changed the entire design of UG Plus in order to create an easier, more accessible navigating experience for the user. Easy-to-follow icons were created to show the users how to access Tab Pro and Backing Tracks, and feedback indicated we hit a home run with the design.
“This page gives a nice overview of the services offered. I like how it lists what each feature does,” stated one particular beta tester named adslam3. “The link to the page of purchases and purchasing options is intuitive and is a great transition as far as providing more information. This is super easy to understand.”
Phone calls were made to several beta testers to learn more about the specific needs/wants they were looking to get out of the site. In many instances, our attention was turned toward Tab Pro, as there were a few glitches we needed to work out before introducing the interactive service to the public. After tweaking Tab Pro to meet the beta testers’ standards, a whole new wave of positive feedback was generation. Brity12311 stated, “This is especially good for novice players (which most of my friends are) so they can learn the songs they love easily and that can hook them into playing.”
The comments we received from user Jrsnow solidified that our service would indeed meet the needs of the musical community – and quickly. In summing up his initial moments navigating UG Plus Jrsnow stated, “First day, but have paid for a year subscription.”
Fast forward to the end of April, at which time our beta testers totaled close to 2,500 individuals, we found several more issues within the subscription system. In order to even better understand the ins and out of the subscription services – and to give even more of our loyal UG users an opportunity to trial run our latest developments – we launched our final beta testing on May 17. Several thousand users took upon the challenge of beta testing UG Plus at this point.
The comments have flooded into our site, with the beta testers touching upon all of the features. One of the key aspects praised by users is the fact that UG Plus is free of pop-ups and advertisements. “Ads stress me out!” user TinyBj said. “Not having to worry about passing over pop ups a huge relief. It makes browsing through songs so much faster.”
Much like Tab Pro, the Backing Tracks system was given the thumbs up from beginners and professionals alike. “The backing track service is great,” beta tester Butthead said. “Being a professional musician I have to learn songs at the drop of a hat, and this allows me to prepare for practices and have the song down and ready to go. A great asset.”
Living up to our own standards of quality was our main focus, but in the end we also wanted to ensure that our service went above and beyond our competitors as well. The beta testers’ verdict has been a pleasing one for us. Guitarguy82091 stated, “Fantastic service, much easier than paying out the tail end for programs like Guitar Pro and a lot simpler than trying to pick out the guitar part you want on the original track.” Hearing that said aloud is music to our ears.
With our final round of research in progress, we couldn’t be more thankful for those first 35 trailblazing beta testers who provided us with such integral input. Some of the words were mighty harsh and others gushed praise, but every single comment shaped the UG Plus services heading your way. Ultimate-Guitar.com wants to thank those original 35 by offering them free subscriptions to UG Plus. It’s the least we can do for those who helped us save face when the growing pains were at times, well, downright ugly.
We do apologize that it’s taken so long to launch UG Plus, but that lengthy wait was to ensure we provided users with a top-quality service that offered only the most satisfying learning and playing experience. A labor of love it has been, but one that we are confident will take all of our loyal UG users’ musical knowledge to the next level. We could have attempted to work out all the kinks and glitches on our own, but there’s nothing wrong with relying on a little help from your friends.